Beige Boxing 101
by CardiacArrest and James Penguin
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Well I remember when I first got into phreaking and found allot of very brief and poorly formatted tutorials in regards to the construction and use of beige boxing. While I have built quite a few beige boxes and have had a great deal of fun using and modding them I've still had people struggle with the concept of the beige box. I feel bad when I have to direct them to a lesser tutorial. So I decided to write my own covering all of the bases with quite a bit more. I hope this will help many more easily understand the construction, implementation, and modding of the beige box. Although this tutorial is named "beige box 101" we will cover other boxes that can be used hand in hand with the beige box e.x. bungee box, kill box..... Now read on and enjoy.
The authors, or anyone involved in the production of this guide are not in any way responsible for anything you do. This guide is meant for instructional purposes only. Follow any instructions at your own risk.
You will be able to find links to various part and pictures at the end of each chapter.
The beige box is in essence an amateur lineman's handset. A lineman's handset is a slightly modified portable telephone which can connect to raw cable terminals in various types of telephone network interfaces (TNI). It can be used to talk to an individual on that line, dial out to make calls at will, or to monitor that particular line. If you've ever encountered a Telco field employee or lineman, then you've probably seen a lineman's handset. When they climb up the telephone poles or approach a small box on the side of your house they will usually have an orange or red variation of a phone. That's a beige box. Now the easy way to get one is to "borrow" one from the Telco van via the infamous 5-finger discount. If you think you can get away with this and are willing to accept the consequences go ahead, but for the rest of you who are actually interested in the actual function and build of the beige box then this is the tutorial for you.
Building a Beige Box
Well the first thing to do of course is get the parts.
Phone: While the beige box can be constructed from any phone I would suggest a mini hand held phone. While there are many different types of these I suggest the Curtis mini phone found at Best Buy. Part number: TH1700B ($10)
Electrical Tape: Some of the most useful stuff around, second only to duct tape, and it'll keep you from shocking yourself and it holds stuff!
Insulated Alligator clips: Alligator clips or test wires are essential to the beige box. You will be using these to connect to the terminals. These can be found at your local electronic supply store or at Radio Shack part number: 270-356
Knife: You'll need some for of cutting utensil whether it be a swiss army knife or an exacto knife. Found just about any where: find your own goddamn part number.
Stripper: Although you can try stripping your wires with a knife or scissors but it will get very sloppy. I'd rather put up eight bucks and have at least 80 percent of the original copper wire. Anyways they can be found at most hardware stores and Radio Shack part number: 64-2980
Soldering Iron (optional): Soldering is by far not imperative, but I have a soldering iron and I like to go the extra mile when making stuff like this. So if ya got one or just have some extra cash lying around why not improve on its structural integrity? Once again it can be found at your local hardware store or radio shack part number: 64-2055
Alright so now that you have everything your saying "what's next". Well I'll tell ya what's next. Its time to build the thing.
Alright you'll need to disconnect the cord leading from your phone to the wall. If you don't feel like "wrecking" a phone then you can purchase a new cord.(like $2) Anyways what you need to do is first cut off one of the modular plugs (the little plugs on the end) Next you will take your knife, and peel back the insulation for the cord. (The outer casing) Strip back about 5 or 8 inches, and be careful while doing this not to damage any of the wires inside.
Once you have removed the outer covering you should see either 2 or 4 different wires. Usually it's just 2, but sometimes 4. If there are only 2 they will be red and green, but if there are 4, they will be red green yellow and black.(you don't need the black and yellow so cut them off) If they are all grey you have stripped the wrong cord (handset cord). If you have the
Once you've done this you should strip the red and green wires. Go ahead and strip about an inch or so. You should see many small copper wires inside of the various colored wires, copper is very conductive and is in allot of wires.
Proceed to take one test jumper (pair of alligator clips) and slide either the
red or green wire (copper end first) into the back of your alligator clip. Ones you've got it pretty far in there (not to far, to where the coppers poking out) secure the wire in there with your electrical tape.
Grab a beer, smoke a blunt, and crank one off (unless you're a Mormon like James Penguin, in which case go read the bible and drink a soda.) You've successfully made a basic beige box.
NOTE: You need to hook it up to any phone for it to work, see section called Using your beige box to learn how to use it.
Your Field Kit and You by James Penguin - Introduction
The field kit is a necessity for any beige boxing excursion. (Unless you carry your tools in your pockets, and that isn't very comfortable/convenient.) In this tutorial like thing... I will tell you what you will need to assemble your basic phreaking field kit.
When putting together a kit you need to take these things into consideration.
- Is it stealthy?
- Can I get rid of it fast?
- Is it innocent looking?
- Can it hold all my tools with ease?
- Is it portable?
- Can I access my tools quickly?
If you can find something lying around your house like that (a backpack maybe?) then good for you go to the next section, other wise keep reading. I was lucky enough to find this little "bathroom accessories travel kit" thing in my bathroom the other day. It's basically a grey bag that rolls up and was intended to keep your shampoo and soap and what not in when you go to a hotel, but it can easily hold all your tools. ( what I mean by "bathroom accessories travel kit" you get rid of the hook and it's a dang good (not to mention inconspicuous) tool kit bag/holder/thing)
When I go beige boxing (or any other type of *boxing for that matter) I like to always have a backup, and a backup for that backup, and a backup for the backup of that backup, etc. The bottom line is you need to be prepared for any situation. So I suggest you keep these tools in your kit.
NOTE: Most of this stuff you can find around your house, if not look at local tool stores or radio shack (it won't cost more than 30 bucks if you buy it all)
- Standard 5ft Modular Phone Cord
- Wire Cutters
- Wire Strippers
- Flat Head/Phillips Screw Driver
- Small Mag Light
- Small Mini Phone (I and Cardiacarrest recommend This Phone
- Electrical Tape
- 1 or 2 Modular Couplers
- 1 or 2 Modular Splitters
- Your modified beige boxing phone cord
- Alligator Clips (at least 3 or 4 pairs)
- 1 or 2 Nine Volt Batteries (or more they can be fun)
- Sharpie (to mark up your victim if you've got a local phreaking group)
- 3/8" Ratchet bit, and Ratchet (for opening up the Telco side of the TNI box.)
- Busy Box (If you're feeling mean)
- Don't forget your gloves. (latex or gardening gloves are fine though latex is kind of conspicuous if some one sees you)
Also Recommended (Special thanks to Halla)
- Co2 Cartridge Sized Torch
- Change or Calling Cards (Be sure when you buy calling cards, to use cash. Then there is no paper trail.)
- Pen and Paper (For numbers to reference, model #'s, etc.)
Be sure you can get rid of your kit at any moment. Don't flaunt it around, and don't write in big bright Sharpie something like, "My Super Cool Phone Hacking Field Kit". Also, if you live with your parents (which I'm sure most of you do) be sure to have an excuse why you're taking a toiletries bag outside with you.
Well that's it you should now have a spiffy keen new phreaking field kit. Good for you, go out there, do some phreaking, and don't get caught. This may have been short but it covers all the details of what you need to know. If you have any questions email me at email@example.com
Complete Field Kit: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v625/CardiacArrest/kit.jpg
Using Your Beige Box - Introduction
Well actually using your beige box is a pretty easy procedure, though pulling it off may be difficult. Like I've said before, we aren't responsible for any dumb stuff you do.
So What is it That I Need to do?
So by now you've got a spiffy phone cord with some alligator clips, and a field kit of (most likely) your dad's tools. So what's next you ask? It's quite simple. On each and every house in your neighborhood, I guarantee (if they have telephone service) that there is a little grey box on the side of each house. (By the utilities meters) This grey box is known as the TNI box (Telephone Network Interface) and this is where you will be doing your beige boxing. The TNI box is where the phone lines are hooked up, and if you can get access to one, you can beige box.
Choosing a Target
Ok, so first thing you need to have a target. Picking a target is one of the most important parts of beige boxing, depending on whom you choose will play a major part in your beige boxing experience.
Things to Consider
Read over these points, before you choose a target.
- Is the location of the TNI box discrete? (Are you easy to see? Are you standing in between a gap with a window facing you?)
- How difficult will it be to setup my equipment? (Are there big bushes blocking the box?)
- Can I make a fast get away?
Being Prepared/Common Sense
Also take these things into consideration before beige boxing.
- Have an excuse for being there. (Your neighbor may wonder why you are messing with things on the side of their house.)
- Be prepared to leave at a moments notice.
- Only Beige Box at Night
- Stealth is imperative. (Don't wear those shoes that light up every time you step.)
- Be prepared for any situation. (Not planning on something can ruin your mission in an instant. Have a proper field kit, with all your important tools. Have a backup, and a backup for that backup, and a backup for the backup of that backup, etc.)
- If need be, be prepared to defend yourself. (If you run into some disgruntled people, be ready to fight if the need arise. Remember physical violence is a last resort; you don't want someone pressing charges for assault. Maybe bring some pepper spray, like Halla says "think about it... better to blind and impair an attacker to allow you to escape and as a bonus, its hard to ID someone when your eyes are swollen shut.")
- Wear a good pair of shoes. (Shoelaces tight and you may need to do some heavy running.)
- Wear Gloves! (Fingerprints are very very very bad! Not to mention you don't want to accidentally shock yourself.)
- Keep your tools and equipment neat and orderly. (You don't want to have to fumble for a tool, or have to scramble around picking everything up when you have to leave.)
- The buddy system can be your best friend or you worst enemy. (If you know someone you can trust, they can be your lookout. However, make sure you can really trust them. I've had bad experiences with partners, and they can rat you out in an instant.)
Getting Some Action
Ok so you've got a target your blood is pumping and you can't wait to just rip open their TNI box and make some free calls, right? WRONG! you can't just go and beige box someone, it has to be a very delicate and planned procedure. Think about it, you've got a lot of things to do in order to get your beige box up and running. So in the next section I will explain HOW you go about doing your business with the TNI box, and then I will give you my fancy 4 step plan for successful beige boxing.
Going About Your Business with the TNI Box
NOTE: Steps may vary in certain areas, and older TNI boxes, these steps are meant for somewhat newer TNI boxes, but they should be a general guide to most if not all other TNI Boxes.
STEP 1. Locate TNI Box
STEP 2. There should be a screw holding the swinging front door of the box in. Using your Flat Head Screwdriver (from your field kit.) Remove it, and place it off to the side. (Try not to drop it, I dropped one into the grass, and around here the grass roots go deep and it was never seen again.)
STEP 3. Open the front panel. You should see on your right some wiring, and a phone cord going into a modular jack. Ignore this, and look to your left. You should see another door, but this one is held in by a strange nut like thing. (Pardon my inexperienced tool talk) Using your 3/8" Ratchet bit and Ratchet, remove it.
STEP 4. Take a deep breath there killer, your almost done.
STEP 5. You should see 4 screw like things towards the top (See Picture: Beige Boxing In Action4) locate the screw that has the red wire going to it, and the screw with the green wire going to it. Now this is probably the easiest part. Take your modified phone cord locate and locate the two alligator clips. Now take the alligator clip connected to the red wire and clip it to the screw with the red wire going to it. Now take the alligator clip with the green wire hooked to it and clip it onto the screw with the green wire going to it.
STEP 6. Take your phone (either the one in your field kit, or the one you brought along) and hook the end of your modified phone cable with the modular plug on it, into the phone.
STEP 7. Pickup/Turn On your phone. If you hear a dial tone, then you have successfully beige boxed and you are hooked into your targets phone line.
STEP 8. Have some fun, make a few calls to Saudi Arabia, call Pizza Hut and order 100 Pepperoni Pizzas, or make some threatening phone calls. It's your choice.
STEP 9.(optional) Take the Sharpie out of your field kit and draw your local Phreak group's (if you have one) logo on it. You gotta tag your territory :P
My 4 Step Plan For (Probably) Not Getting Busted
STEP 1. Locate Your Target.
STEP 2. At the best possible time, proceed to remove the flathead screw. Now leave.
STEP 3. After a 1 or 2 days, return again at the best possible time, and remove the bolt thingy with your 3/8" Ratchet bit and Ratchet. Now leave again.
STEP 4. Wait a few days, and now come with your beige box, and... beige box.
STEP 5. Check your area for any thing you may have dropped. Remember the idea is to leave not trace.
Cool Things to do While Beige Boxing
(Idea by moralexploit) Get one of those 30 day free trial dial up internet cd's. Then when your beige boxing, bring your laptop and just plug your phone cord into there. Now you've got dial up internet. (Good for possibly illegal things you may want to do *wink wink*) NOTE: I haven't tested this method; you may have to put in a Credit Card Number before you can activate a free trial disk. DO NOT DO THIS!!!! You don't want an electronic paper trail do ya?
Like I said before, prank/long distance calls are always good for a laugh.
If you need to make some sort of threat (which I wouldn't recommend, but hey it's your life) on the phone, then you can use their line. NOTE: Make sure the people you are beige boxing don't know you then.
You could eavesdrop on some phone calls, you may find something good. (However, I'd suggest you use a modified version of a beige box to do this. You don't want to have someone hear you breathing? See the mod section for a more covert eavesdropping method.)
Closing Note: Practice on your own TNI box first. You need to hone your skills before you try it for real.
Beige Boxing In Action1:
Beige Boxing In Action2:
Beige Boxing In Action3:
Beige Boxing In Action4:
Beige Boxing In Action5:
I will be compliling another tut. in which we will discuss the use and construction of various types of beige box modifications, adapters, and additions.
I really hope you learn from this....I know James and myself really enjoyes writing it.
If you have any question, need help, or just wanna talk bout phreakin,
you can contact me at:
or James at: