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Phone phreaker gets swatted down.

Aresurgence of the old days of "phone phreaking"--hacking into phone systems--led to a crackdown late last year on "swatting," a more aggressive type of phone phreaking. Swatting involves malicious pranksters calling police with reports of fake murders, hostage crises or the like and making the calls appear as though they originated from another location. The government says a gang of telephone ruffians launched swatting attacks in more than 60 cities, leaving hundreds of victims and chalking up more than $250,000 in losses.

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A recent hoax involves a 17-year-old east Boston phone phreak known as Li'l Hacker to other phone swatters. Blind from birth, he burst onto the phone phreaking scene late 2004 when a neighbor gave him the number of a telephone party line called the Boston Raven. He eventually fell in with a gang of phone hackers who called themselves "Wrecking Crew" and "The Cavalry" and served up trouble to anyone who defied them. An informant led a FBI special agent to the troublemaker, who was then groomed to be an informant himself.

Last June, FBI agents in 11 cities swept in on the swatters and their associates and arrested five of them. All five have since pled guilty. Phone companies are advised to remain on the lookout for any illegal activity and to report those who openly brag about their ongoing antics. [www.wired.com]

By Jonah Arellano, Communications Assistant
COPYRIGHT 2008 National Telephone Cooperative Association
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Title Annotation:SHORT Takes
Author:Arellano, Jonah
Publication:Rural Telecommunications
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2008
Words:236
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