Interview with a Phreaker: Digiman
This is a live-interview done at Mekka & Symposium some years ago with a man, who is part of a complete other kind of Scene. He's a phreaker.
Of course phreakers don't have much to do with the demoscene at all... Most of them have the simple aim to call globally for free. They abuse phone services for commercial customers, try to find frequencies that aren't blocked by the home telecom company but hang the sattellite, hack in VMB systems, etc. Also many of them use the Internet with its less protected commercial sites as their target.
There were many films and books about that kind of Scene but most of them were simply too much illustrated and blown up. Here's a face-to-face interrogation with a well known German phreaker who is also running the oldest illegal bulletin-board system in Germany called "Acid Slam". He's also a big name in the illegal Amiga Scene. His name is Digiman of Hellfire and for the IRC surfers among you, if you have visited the channels #amielite or #amigascne (both IRCNet) more or less frequently this nick should be quite known to your eyes.
So let's forget about all those stunning but hardly authentical motion pictures and read what a master of h/p/a stuff writes about his hobby himself.
Please introduce yourself in real life and in computer affairs.
Well, I started with computers 10 years ago. My friend was playing Green Beret. I thought it was c00l. Then I bought a C64 and some years l8r a sound digitizer. Well I made some sounds for a group named Crash? - Slash? - don't know anymore, but that's how I got my name... I digitized sounds... and my friend called me Digi(man)... kinda lame, huh? 1991 I got my first modem... and started calling boards....
US Robotics I guess... hehe.
No hehe... It was a Best 2400 haha... But I was quite fast for 2400 hehe (urgs).
...and calling some PD boxes, weren't you?
Well yeah... for two weeks. Then I met a guy named hoshy who gave me some board numbers that didn't kick 24 users...
Mhh well and you began to be fascinated of that illegal scene I guess?
Yeah... but I think I thought it also was c00l that I didn't understand anything when I called the first amiex board...
But later you began to become interested in phreaking acitivities like blueboxing, etc.
Yes. Well the first time I boxed was when I found a dialer on a board named SKID ROW DIALER or something. Mhh, it was in an ugly CLI window and you had to dial the numbers manually I think... Hehe, then came BLIEB... that was c00l... Mhh but like m0st people I didn't know what I was doing... I heard a klick and dialed... hehe... Well, but it interested me what was behind that... And I got hold of documents... Well, and so I got more and more in to it... Because I thought it was c00l to have the control over the telephone system... and the world?
Yeah I remember, blueboxing was wonderful. But it became more and more difficult. At the beginning it was only one tone and later two and more. And then... Mhh, but how exactly does blueboxing work? And why wasn't AT&T able to stop those illegal actions? Or didn't they even recognize us?
Well, when you bluebox you act as if you were a part of the telephone system... The C5 signaling sends freqs to comunicate between the switching centers. So you do. And if a switching center can dial... you can too... hehe.
And then Kimble was in that TV-Show called "Premiere" and then "Monitor" or "Panorama" or so. He told them (and all people in front of their screens) how blueboxing worked. Is he the destroyer of the bluebox?
Well the first time he was on TV wasn't so bad... Well he showed how to box AT&T... that caused that AT&T changed the freqs... you had to send and wait 65 to break... well not too bad..... But then he came on Monitor/Panorama and he showed MCI with blieb... one day after that MCI changed the freqs... And since that day changed the freqs everytime after a while until they changed to R2. But that wasn't the worst thing... The telephone companies were alarmed about blueboxers.
But well I can't really give Kimble the fault for the end of blueboxing... Before he came on Monitor/Panorama the tollfree numbers where busy all the day to USA... and like 100000 people boxed... If he hadn't shown it on TV some other guy would have done it.
But for us sceners it was a great shock that Kimble showed the rest of Germany how to call for free! Mhh and then month for month it went more and more impossible to call outside. And the communication of the sceners broke down. But okay... what are you doing beside blueboxing?
Well at the moment I'm still playing around with the rest of the C5 countries... But in the future all companies will change to R2... The problem is that on the Amiga there are no bluebox tools to handle it correctly and I don't want to buy a Pee Cee... never... So I hope a friend can build me some hardware... If there is any coder interested... contact me... hehe.
Anything else? Are you still hanging around in those sex-lines? Or doing conferences with that AT&T Service? Or voice-mail boxes for example. I can remember that Bookeberry and all these so-called elite-phreakers had their own vmb with new cards etc. Are you also doing those things?
Well... I've never liked chat lines... or AT&T conferces... Sometimes I use a vmb to contact other people... but well, I don't like that vmb stuff. I think Bookeberry is very good at what he is doing... well he has always said, "Drop boxing... use vmbs... it's so easy..." He may be right... with vmbs, however, I dont have the feeling of control... mhh it's nothing special.
Yes it's for free, but calling with bluebox is more freedom! You can do what you want where you want... call where you want etc. Nobody is limiting you, like if you are using cards. What do you think about cards? I heard the rules of the cards have changed. In former times they were very cheap but the quality was very low, because one pool was sold more than 3-4 times. Now the cards are expensive but it's a bit more YOUR card... Or what do you generally think about cards? Is it less safe than blueboxing?
Nothing is safe like blueboxing... Well I don't know much about card stuff. Hmm, I heard AT&T made everything a bit more secure... they are blacklisting numbers and stuff... Anyway, there are rumours going around that some people these days where busted using AT&T calling cards. Well, I say, "Oh no... not again that stuff....." Well, cards are nice for mobile phones. And if you have some cards... why not...
Mhh, but it's getting more and more difficult to buy cards as a normal scener... How are the prices nowadays and how long do they work?
Well today they only last for some hours and some calls... I think there will never be such good callabilities like in the past... The warez, demo and phreaker scenes will separate more and more... It was a nice time... but it will never be the same again....
That's right! Are you present in the Internet? Do you even have any phreaking abilities related to the Internet? How safe is it really? E-Plus Mobile Telephones for example refuse to make any mails or any sites in the Internet due the low security... What's your opinion?
Well I started using the Internet about three weeks ago... Well I got a unix account from a friend... and the first thing I tried to do was to download the pwfile and crack it... And here again to the coders: There is no Unix cracker I know about than killercracker... change it... I don't wanna buy a Pee Cee.
Hehe, okay, I could tell you something about PC, but it's an interview with you, not with me... heh. But what do you think about the future of the German Telekom? On January 1st, 1997, very much will change. What do you guess what will happen?
Well... I think in the first years not to much... because the other companies first have to rent lines from the Telekom... so only big companies can really afford them... I think it will take some time until something changes... But I think there will be much more ways to phreak... more services, more abuse.
I don't think that the other companies will rent lines from the Telekom. Mhhh... I heard rumors they wanna do it a little bit like the mobile phone companies but you cannot leave your home with your "mobile" telefone... But we'll see... - Would you like to greet some people, finally?
My mom... My dad... tOM!, Ghandy!, Dr.q/UPG (he will never read this... PC...), Pyro.
Last question: What do you think about that party?
Well yeah, it's nice... But well I miss the Techno/Gabba Party here... bumm bumm. Mhh. At least I can sleep at home...
You're lucky... Last night I slept 4 hours! Urrgh! So, thank you very much for that interview. Hehe, and see you in the Los Endos BBS some time...
Well my last words... Don't buy Pee Cee... and save THE EDGE BBS... Don't let that board die... Good bye.
In 1998 Digiman was busted for calling over Australian and Israeli sattellites. The police came, saw the total desaster in his flat, took away everything that slightly looked like computer equipment and left Digiman alone. Seven months later he was called to court but they didn't punish him very hard. Only a few German Marks to pay and some hours at social stations to serve... that was it. The real punishement had been already done. He had lost his hardware and with that a lot of old phreaking software for Amiga which he never had a chance to get again. Neither from the Internet nor from anybody.
Hope you enjoyed reading this interview even if Digiman is a totally PC hater. My advice: Simply forgive him!
A list of sites dealing with hpa stuff is included in SCENET #29.
- Ghandy/Darkage/Faith/Gods/Chemical Reaction