"War Games" (1983) How to hack a phone in the 80's - nzwargamer.net

“War Games” (1983) How to hack a phone in the 80’s

Ka Trash
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“War Games” (1983)
Directed by John Badham with Matthew Broderic & Dabney Coleman


  1. I know from experience that a lot of receivers had the caps screwed on in reverse thread and some were also glued on

  2. Agent 99 BrittAcent/ Grave AcceNT/AUSSieIcyICiSEEM2NeedGlaSSes

  3. Amethyst NullLuLz/NAZI/KLAUS_BARBie/10/25/1913/OPHICHUS/(13TH SIGN/Sagitarius /Leo/Scorpio

  4. Goes to show script writers know nothing about telephony.

  5. It seems odd that a 1983 movie depicting events in that time frame would have utilized a 3-slot payphone. The Bell System spent the entire 1970’s decade replacing these with single slot phones. Odder still is the fact that the phone is arranged for prepay service (no dial tone until sufficient change has been deposited). Again the Bell System spent the 1970’s converting to Dial Tone First (DTF) to accommodate free emergency calling, which meant you could reach an operator by dialing zero (or 911 if available) without depositing a coin. What the actor (Matthew Broderick) did would have worked (and often did) in the 1950’s, but by the early 1960’s, the payphones were modified to prevent this type of fraud. It is highly unlikely that an unmodified phone would be in service in the 1980’s. The movie also depicts a PVC or neoprene coiled handset cord. This would have been replaced with an armored cord in the early 1960’s, especially in an isolated outside booth. The handset receiver and transmitter caps were cemented to the handsets, and in my experience would not be broken free by banging the cap on the payphone shelf. Even the Bell repair technicians couldn’t get them off. Their instructions were to replace the entire handset if they discovered a transmitter or receiver problem.

    But lets suppose he was able to get the transmitter cap off. Would he be able to get dial tone using the method he did? The answer is yes. Here’s how dial tone is provided in a typical prepay setup. The payphone line is configured in a ground start arrangement. There are two wires connecting the payphone to the central office (CO). These are called the tip and ring. In the idle state, the tip wire is open (electrically dead) at the CO end. The ring wire is connected to one side of a relay winding. The other side of the winding is connected to negative 48-volt battery. This relay is called the line relay and each payphone has its own dedicated line relay. If the ring wire gets grounded at the payphone, the line relay will operate. The operated line relay initiates a sequence of events to occur in the CO that will connect dial tone to the payphone line. The ring wire is normally grounded by the depositing of a coin at the payphone. The coin drops down into the hopper (a coin storage bin) where it hits the hopper trigger, deflecting it downwards. The deflected trigger closes a pair of contacts. One of these contacts is connected to ground and the other contact is connected to the payphone circuitry, which provides a path to the ring wire. The grounded ring wire causes the line relay to operate and a dial tone request is initiated. Both the handset receiver and transmitter form part of the payphone circuit path that leads to the ring wire. By removing a cap and taking out the receiver or transmitter, the contacts for these devices are exposed. Grounding any of these contacts will result in that ground reaching the ring wire and operating the line relay. So grounding these contacts bypasses the normal ground path through the deflected trigger contacts. Broderick removes the transmitter unit to expose the two transmitter contacts. He finds a piece of metal, a pull-tab from a can, and connects one side to one of the transmitter contacts and the other side to the payphone housing security lock. The housings of all payphones are grounded. This is done to protect the payphone users from foreign voltages that reach the payphone via its tip and ring wires (this includes such things as crosses with electrical utilities or lightning strikes). The housing ground passes through the pull-tab, through the transmitter contact and on to the ring wire. The line relay operates and he hears dial tone through the handset receiver, replaces the transmitter unit, screws the transmitter cap back on and proceeds to dial his call.

    Broderick would have been able to get dial tone, but would not have been able to use the rotary dial. Another fraud prevention mechanism built into these phones since the late 1950’s was a short circuit across the dial pulsing contacts. This was performed by a normally closed set of contacts associated with the hopper trigger. This short circuit was only removed when the hopper trigger was deflected by the deposit of a coin. So when Broderick started dialing, he wouldn’t be able to break dial tone and the call wouldn’t go through.

    He could have tried “pulsing” by quickly tapping the handset’s switchhook up and down. However, this is nowhere near as easy as tapping the switchhook on a deskphone. It takes considerable practice to successfully dial a call this way.

  6. The old soda can tops haven't seen then in years.

  7. Just conveniently finds a soda top on the ground. Though he be looking for quarter. That would actually work????? What would he do if he could not find anything lol.

  8. I use to do this all the fucking time, finally the companies caught on & they changed the box to aluminum so it wouldn't conduct.

  9. Who says it's a soda pop can tab? You idiots realize I most likely is a beer tab right?

  10. WarGames (1983) f'u"l'l M'0'V'l"e

    ê Lorsqu'une pilule qui donne aux utilisateurs cinq minutes de super pouvoirs inattendus arrive dans les rues de
    la Nouvelle-Orléans, un adolescent marchand et un policier local doivent faire équipe avec un ancien soldat pour
    √faire tomber le groupe responsable de sa fabrication."""**"

  11. clearly fake, he forgot to dial the secret password: 1234.

  12. 0:56 That weird and awkward/nerdy way that he walks around and looks at the ground has always stood out to me for some reason.

  13. Interesting to see a criminally irresponsible self-indulgent teen in action.

  14. It's the reason there's no more pay phones!

  15. That actually worked! I seen it done many times back in the day.

  16. Hacker!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. I think at the time "information" was free so if he did use a real dime to get dialtone (coin first payphones were still a thing, especially in more rural areas) he would have gotten his dime back after he hung up.

    The reason why they switched to dial-tone first service is because of situations like this, it made free calls and more importantly, emergency calls possible even if the caller didn't have any change. While by this time most of the country had been switched to the newer dial tone first service, there were still a number of areas where the coin first service was still in place. There was a number of episodes of CHiPS that showed payphones being used, and many of them were coin first – at least the phones had coin-first instruction cards on them….

    (Yeah I'm a phone geek lol)

    Oh and more modern phones had the handset caps glued on to prevent vandalism

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