Before Anonymous and LulzSec, before warez bulletin boards, before logins and passwords, before everything, there was phreaking.
The first waves of proto-hackers emerged in the 1960s, figuring out how to scam and surf the only truly massive electronic network in existence at the time: the telephone system.
For decades, pranksters, nerds, and anarchists shared the latest ways to fool AT&T’s automated systems into giving them free calls and unapproved access. They gave themselves weird nicknames and rarely met in person. Until well into the 1980s, waves of system-crackers built little DIY devices (“blue boxes”) that could emulate phone-company signaling tones. It was all incredibly illegal and didn’t come with any video tutorials.