Elf Qrin's Lair


The definitive guide to Phreak Boxes
v1.1 r07Feb2001 1r05Sep2000
by Elf Qrin



Traditionally, in the phreakers' culture, any device thought to be connected to the phone line is called "box" and is named after a color since the first "Blue Box" invented by Captain Crunch, the father of the phreak scene. Since all colors were quickly used for this purpose, other fancyful names were also used to name boxes.

I've tried to make a definitive list (probably complete) of all the known "color boxes", with a brief description, and classified for similar boxes and aliases.
I've made a long research to find and classify them all, looking for and reading through about 300 documents ("Seventy percent of all archaeology is done in the library. Research. Reading.", as Indiana Jones said in Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade). In most cases I've used quotes from the original documents for the descriptions.

Since most boxes were invented in the '80s or early '90s, this document is mainly meant informative and historical purpose: many of these boxes don't work, nowadays. However, some still does, and sometimes similar models can even be found in stores.

I've catalogued 94 phreak boxes of 75 different kinds (counting only boxes with different functions), and 17 aliases (same box with a different name).
I've also included 5 non phreak boxes of 4 different kinds (boxes not meant to be plugged or interfere with the phone line, rather they can be be meant for use with the electric line or something else).
The raw total is 99 boxes of 79 kinds and 17 aliases, which sums up to 116 box names.

When the name of a box is included between (round brackets) such box name is actually just an alias of another box.
When the name of a box is included between [square brackets] such box has been created or reinvented by someone else, using a different scheme and/or different components.
When there's one box that uses the name of an already existing box (supposely because the author was unaware of it), I've added to it a sequential number between round brackets, such as (2), (3)...

I'll probably add all the schemes in a future version of this document.

(2600 Box)
(another name for the Blue Box)
see Blue Box
Acrylic Box
(aka Extended Bud Box)
The purpose of this box is to get Three-Way-Calling, Call Waiting, programmable Call Forwarding, and an easier way of extended Bud Boxing, stealing them from the fortunate ones on your block.

Created by The Pimp

ALF Box A tone generator for the Apple IIe with an ALF Music Synthesizer Card.

Created by Sir Briggs of the SouthCentral Discount Waremeisters (SCDW) of Texas

Aqua Box Every true phreaker lives in fear of the dreaded F.B.I. 'Lock in Trace.' For a long time, it was impossible to escape from the lock in trace. This box does offer an "escape route", by lowering the voltage on the phone line.

Concept by: Captain Xerox
Plans by: The Traveler

Assassin Box
(sometimes mispelled as assasin box, asassin box, asasin box)
A box designed to scare, harm, or kill people at the phone by a shock of electricity right in the ear as soon as the victim starts dialing a number. This box was designed, because its authors, after trying a Day-Glo Box for some weeks, "were bored and decided to move on to telephone terrorism."

Linked by Grim Reaper

[Beagan Box]
(sometimes mispelled as Began Box)
[similar to Beige Box, Beige Box Revisited, Day-Glo Box]
see Beige Box

Concept & Design: Black Box
Beta Testing: Lord Reagan

Beige Box
[similar to Beagan Box, Beige Box Revisited, Bud Box, Day-Glo Box]
A home made a lineman's handset, also known as REMOBS (REMote OBserving Systems). With a Beige Box you can do the following things: "Eavesdropping; Long distance, static free free fone calls to phriends; Dialing direct to Alliance Conferencing (also static-free); Phuking up people; Bothering the operator at little risk to yourself; Blue Boxing with a greatly reduced chance of getting caught; Anything at all that you want, since you are an extension on that line".

Invented by The Exterminator and The Terminal Man
Date: Friday, May 17, 1985

[Beige Box Revisited]
[similar to Beagan Box, Beige Box, Day-Glo Box]
see Beige Box

by Mercenary
Year: 1992 or later

Black Box A Black Box is a device that is hooked up to your fone that fixes your fone so that when you get a call, the caller doesn't get charged for the call. This is good for calls up to 1/2 hour, after 1/2 hour the Fone Co. gets suspicious, and then you can guess what happens.
The original box was created in the USA. There are modified versions for other countries.

Original author unknown
UK Black Box by K.S.Reach of The Hackers Academy (March 1988)
Greek Black Box by Fabulist and Enigma (year 1992)

Blast Box All a blast box is, is a really cheap amplifier (around 5 watts or so), connected in place of the microphone on your telephone meant to talk to someone on the phone who just doesn't shut up.
Blast Box II Similar to the Blast Box, but designed to blow up other people's computers, instead of their ears.
Bleeper Box
[UK version of the Blue Box]
The United Kingdom's own version of the Blue Box, modified to work with the UK's phone system. Based on the same principles. However, British Telecom uses two sets of frequencies, foreword and backwards.
Blotto Box For years now every pirate has dreamed of the Blotto Box. It was at first made as a joke to mock more ignorant people into thinking that the function of it actually was possible.
This box quite simply, can turn off the phone lines everywhere.

Originally conceived by King Blotto
Created by The Traveler

Blue Box
(aka 2600 Box)
The mother of all boxes. The first box in history, which started the whole phreaking scene. Invented by John Draper (aka "Captain Crunch") in the early 60s, who discovered that by sending a tone of 2600Hz over the telephone lines of AT&T, it was possible to make free calls.

In the 1960s the makers of Cap'n Crunch breakfast cereal offered a toy-whistle prize in every box as a treat for the Cap'n Crunch set. Somehow John Draper (who called himself "Captain Crunch" since then) discovered that the toy whistle just happened to produce a perfect 2600-cycle tone. When the man was transferred overseas to England with his Air Force unit, he would receive scores of calls from his friends and "mute" them -- make them free of charge to them -- by blowing his Cap'n Crunch whistle into his end.

 Cap'n Crunch whistle
 front and back view:

Cap'n Crunch 2600Hz Whistle, front and back view Hear the Blue Box 2600Hz tone:
PLAY

Discovered by Captain Crunch (John Draper)
Year: early 1960s

(Blue Con Box)
(short name for the Blue Conference Box)
see Blue Conference Box
Blue Conference Box
(aka Blue Con Box)
A Blue Box and a Con Box combined.
Bottle-Nosed Grey box
[selective version of the Rainbow Box]
This box will do damage to only your phone, the line between you and your enemy and your enemy's MODEM, whereas the Rainbow Box just takes everything out.

by The Dolphin that came from Belmont

[Brown Box]
(aka Opaque Box)
[similar to Con Box, Party Box, Three Box]

Created by The Doc

Bud Box This box is quite similar to a beige box, except this is a portable unit. It is extremly handy for free voice calls and tapping a near by house's line.

Invented by Dr. D-Code & The Pimp of The Slaughtered Chicken

Busy Box This box is attached to the outside of the person's house, in their telephone box. It makes it so that when any phone inside that house is picked up, no dial tone is heard, and no calls can be received, or sent. This is good for lame BBS's as they tend not to call out much, and it will remain undetected for a longer period of time.

Invented by Black Death

Charging Box
(aka Light Box)
This box is used to indicate when a call is being charged for and when it is not. Once installed, the box has two lights, a green one and a red one. Green means free and red shows that you are being charged.

Created by Stinky Pig Productions (a UK team)

(Chart Box)
(short name for the Chartreuse Box)
see Chartreuse Box
Chartreuse Box
(aka Chart Box, Obnoxious Box)
Your telephone line is a constant power source. This box is designed to allow you to tap that power source and give you up to 12 volts (more if you use a transformer).

Created by Wonko The Sane

Cheese Box This box (named for the type of box the first one was found in) turns your home phone into a pay phone.
It can be used together with a Red Box to make free calls.

Created by Otho Radix (?)

Chrome Box A portable self-contained device to manipulate Traffic Signals.
Not a phreak box.

Created by Remote Control
Date: June, 14 1988

Clear Box This box works on "post-pay" payphones (a kind of payphone that could be found in Canada and in rural United States), in other words, those phones that don't require payment until after the connection has been established. If you don't deposit money, you can't speak to the person at the other end, bacause your mouthpiece is cut off -- but not your earpiece. (Yes, you can make free calls to the weather, etc. from such phones.)
With this box the user is able to speak to the other person for free. The clear box thus "clears" up the problem of not being heard.

Author: Sherwood Forest (?)
Originally published on the July 1984 issue of 2600 The Hacker's Quarterly

Cold Box Usage unknown. Cited in the "Blotto Box" document.

Created by The Traveler

Con Box
(aka Conference Box)
[similar to Brown Box, Party Box, Three Box]
This box allows you to connect two lines in your house to give 3 way type service, creating a party line.
(Conference Box)
(expanded name for the Con Box)
see Con Box
Copper Box Uses cross-talk feedback to try to damage sensitive equipment of a phone company. More a method than a real box.

Concieved by The Cypher
Year: 1986

Crimson Box
(sometimes mispelled as Chrimson Box)

[similar to Green Box (2), Orange Box, Hold Box, Hold On Box, White Box (2), Yellow Box (2)]
This box is a very simple device that will allow you to put someone on hold or make your phone busy with a large amount of ease. You flip a switch and the person can't hear you talking. Flip it back and everything is peechy.
It doesn't have a led to show when hold mode is on.

Created by Dr. D-Code
Year: 1985

Dark Box: Multi-Purpose Network Manipulation Unit This box's basic design allows you to call anywhere on earth without fear of being billed or traced.

Created by Cablecast 0perator of the Dark Side Research Group
Year: 1987

[Day-Glo Box]
(aka DayGlo Box)
[similar to Beige Box]
This box lets you place calls for free with no time limit, no possibility of a wiretap, and the calls can be placed from anywhere in the world.

Conceptualized by John F. Kennedy

Diverti Box Cited in the "Blotto Box" document. Probably used to divert a phone call.

Created by The Traveler

Dloc Box Call/receive on two lines, with the option to conference them.

by The Dark Lords of Chaos: Prowler, Apprentice, Pro Hack, Zeus, Tarkmeth, Blackstoke, Lazer
Date: October, 3 1988

DNA Box Not actually a box but a project of the Outlaw Telecommandos to hack cellular phones, in the early era of those devices (1989).

Issued on February 1989

(Extended Bud Box)
(another name for the Acrylic Box)
see Acrylic Box
Fuzz Box This box duplicates the tones of coins dropping down the phone chute, and thereby allowing the user to place calls without paying for them.
Gold Box
[similar to X-Gold Box]
When you put a gold box on two phone lines it lets anyone who calls one of the lines call out on the other. So when the phone company traces the line it will tell them that you're calling from the line you hooked the gold box up to.

by Dr. Revenge, cosysop of Modem Madness (516-569-0589)

Grab Box
This box uses inductive coupling to join with any radio that uses a coil for an antenna (such as an AM, longwave, or shortwave radio) and allows you to lengthen it considerably.
Not a phreak box.
This kind of box can be commonly found in a electronic shop.

by Shadowspawn

Green Box Tis box generates tones for Coin Collect, Coin Return, and Ringback. It must be used by the CALLED party.
[Green Box (2)]
[similar to Crimson Box, Orange Box, Hold Box, Hold On Box, White Box (2), Yellow Box (2)]
A hold button.
see Crimson Box
(Grey Box)
(another name for the Silver Box)
see Silver Box
[Hold Box]
[similar to Crimson Box, Green Box (2), Orange Box, Hold On Box, White Box (2), Yellow Box (2)]
A hold button.
see Crimson Box
[Hold On Box]
[similar to Crimson Box, Green Box (2), Orange Box, Hold Box, White Box (2), Yellow Box (2)]
A hold button.
see Crimson Box
Infinity Box
(sometimes mispelled as Infiity Box)
When the phone number of a telephone containing an infinity box device is dialed and a certain note is blown into the phone from a hohner, keyof-c, harmonica, the bugged phone does not ring, and what's more, enables the aller to then hear everything said in the room that the phone is located in. As long as the caller wants to stay on the phone, all is open to him or he. If the phone is lifted off the hook, the transmitter is disconnected and the "bugged" party receives a dial tone as if nothing was wrong with the line.

Description by Iron Man of The Crack Shop
from the original "Infinity Transmitter" by Manny Mittleman

In-Use Light Box A device that signals whether or not an extension of a particular phone line is off-hook. It does NOT indicate whether or not a phone is being tapped, and will light whenever any extension is picked up.

by The Night Owl AE

Jack Box A device to generate tones created starting from a phone keypad.
Jolly Box A software written in 8086 assembly which generates several phone tones ("Multi-Frequenz-Demon-Dialer for Global Access").

Code by Jolly Roger
Updated by by Zaphod Beeblebrox of Control Team
Date: probably 1993 or earlier.

(Light Box)
(another name for the Charging Box)
see Charging Box
Loud Box Makes your voice louder over the phone line. Especially meant for use in conference calls.

Designed, written and built by Mr. Bill

Lunch Box
(aka Tap Box)
The Lunch Box is a very simple transmitter used for eavesdropping. It is quite small and can easily be put in a number of places.

Created by Dr. D-Code

Magenta Box When you call up line one from your house you will get a dial tone almost immediately. Using DTMF you can dial anywhere that the person who owns line 2 has service to. Which means you can direct dial alliance, Australia, and your favorite BBS for FREE.

Designed by Street Fighter

Magenta Box (2) a portable ringing generator which, if connected to a phone line, will make the phone on the end of it ring. It works by using a relay as a vibrator to generate A.C. which is then stepped up by a transformer and fed through a capacitor into the phone line to make the phone ring.
Mauve Box Generates a magnetic field to tap the nearest phone conversation (somehow similar to the TEMPEST -- Van Eck radiation -- system to tap video screens).

Created by Captian Generic with Help from The Genetic Mishap
Date: November, 24 1986 - 19:08

Meeko Box A multi-purpose box with the following features:
  1. It is able to record telephone conversations with excellent quality.
  2. It is able to play a source directly into the phone line.
  3. It can keep the phone line open.
  4. You can box without using a phone, and headphones (requires a modem).

Designed by Meeko of Hi-ReS UK
Year: 1994

Mega Box A cable rerouter to hook up a second line in your house.
Modu Box
(aka Modula Box)
A second phone plug attached to an existing one.

Designed by Magnus Adept

(Modula Box)
(expanded name for the Modu Box)
see Modula Box
[Music Box]
[similar to Pink Box (2)]
It's basically a Pink Box (2) without the led.
see Pink Box (2)

Created by Aluminium Gerbul

Mute Box This box lets the user receive long distance calls without being detected.
Neon Box
(aka Record-o-Box)
(erroneously used as an alias for the Blast Box II)
[similar to Sound Blaster Box, Rock Box, Slug Box]
A device that adds a normal jack interface to a telephone, allowing to send music or tones into the phone line, or to record conversations using the microphone input of a recorder.
This kind of box can be commonly found in a phone shop.

anterior to April 1994

Noise Box
[similar to the Scarlet Box]
It is a device you can attach to a victim's phone line so that an abnormal amount of noise will be present on the line at all times, which would make data transmissions almost impossible and voice communications annoying, to say the least.

by Doctor Dissector of Phortune 500

(Obnoxious Box)
(another name for the Chartreuse Box)
see Chartreuse Box
Olive Box An alternative ring for your phone, with a light that also flashes when the phone rings.

by Arnold, sysop of Hobbit Hole AE (HHAE) East Branch

(Opaque Box)
(another name for the Brown Box)
see Brown Box
[Orange Box]
[similar to Crimson Box, Green Box (2), Hold Box, Hold On Box, White Box (2), Yellow Box (2)]
A hold button.
see Crimson Box
Paisley Box A multi purpose box that combines the functions of several boxes, including blue, beige, and blotto. Among other things can seize operator lines and remotely control all TSPS and TOPS consoles.

by Blade of the Neon Fucken Knights

Pandora Box A device that generates a high intensity sound to produce pain.
A similar device (usually called "phasor") is commonly sold in security shops for personal defence.

by Dr. Rat of Rat Labs, S.F., CA
Year: 1986

[Party Box]
[similar to Brown Box, Three Box, Con Box]
This box allows free three-way calling, connects two phone conversations at once, without any static or excess wiring, or even having two phone lines.

Created by Greyhawke of The Dark Knights (TDK)

Pearl Box
[similar to Pearl Box 2 - Advanced Pearl Box]
This is a box that may substitute for many boxes which produce tones in hertz. The Pearl Box when operated correctly can produce tones from 1-9999Hz. As you can see, 2600, 1633, 1336 and other crucial tones are obviously in its sound spectrum (yet you'd need two Pearl Boxes to generate combined tones, such as the ones of the dialpad).

Created by Dr. D-Code
Year: before than 1989

[Pearl Box 2 - Advanced Pearl Box]
[similar to Pearl Box]
A Pearl Box made in an easier and cheaper way.

Created and Tested by Dispater
Date: July, 1 1989

Pink Box Pink box allows you to hook two separate phone lines together to have three way calling with hold on either line, and well as bringing a dial tone into the conversation woth someone and allowing them to dial the number touch tone, and it will connect three way, and when they hang up, it will disconnect three way calling, no more need to play with the hook for 3 way.
Pink Box (2)
[similar to Music Box]
The function of a "Pink Box" is to ad hold button that allows music or anything else to be played into the telephone while the person is on hold. This Modification either be done right in the telephone as a separate box.
This kind of box can be commonly found in a phone shop.
Plaid Box Turns a pulse phone line into a touch phone capable line.
(Portable Gray Box)
(another name for the Portable Grey Box)
see Portable Silver Box
Portable Silver Box
(aka Portable Grey Box)
A batteries operated Silver Box that can fit in a pocket for use in payphones or wherever.

by The Phone Phantom

[Power Box]
[similar to Tron Box]
The power box is a simple device that will allow you to completely bypass the meter-reading equipment of the power company.
It works by connecting the power line running into your house directly instead of through the meter (which records electricty usage for the power company). When implemeneted correctly, there is no possible way that you can be detected by the power company and therefor save many hundreds of dollars through its use.
Not a phreak box.

Concept and Plans by Cursor
Date: August, 9 1990

Puce Box This box emits vaporous LSD. Line noise may cause strychnine formation.
Purple Box This box allow to switch between two phone lines, putting one of them in hold. A led shows which line is on hold.

Created by The Flash
Date: February, 26 1986

Rainbow Box
[non selective version of the Bottle-Nosed Grey box]
Connects the electric line to the phone line blowing up everything. Odds are you will take out every phone in the neighborhood and get caught.

by The Dolphin that came from Belmont

Razz Box This box allows you to tap your neighbors line without your neighbor knowing it. You can also make free phone calls.

Written by The Razz and Released by The Magnet of Crime Ring International
Date: November, 12 1988

(Record-o-Box)
(another name for the Neon Box)
see Neon Box
Red Box
[similar to the Red Box Whistle]
The Red box basically simulates the sounds of coins being dropped into the coin slot of a payphone. The traditional Red Box consisting of a pair of Wien-bridge oscillators with the timing controlled by 555 timer chips.
[Red Box Whistle]
[similar to the Red Box]
A phreak in the Midwest has extensively tested a method of red boxing which uses nothing more than a pair of brass or aluminum whistles.
This method is very similar to the original blue boxing as it was discovered by Cap'n Crunch.

Reported by THE RESEARCHER

Red Green Box
[combines a Red Box and a Green Box together]
This is a devices that generates the tones for red boxing and green boxing.

by Pink Panther

Ring/Busy Box When connected to a phone line, this box will cause a busy signal anytime a call is made to that particular line. They can still use their phone to make outgoing calls.

by M0rtaSkuld, dedicated to The Emporer

[Rock Box - Basic]
[similar to the Rock Box - Advanced, Neon Box, Sound Blaster Box]
The Rock Box channels the music from the stereo out to the phone line via the headphone output. It also can record conversations.

Created and Designed By Video Vindicator of the Shadows of IGA

[Rock Box - Advanced]
[similar to the Rock Box - Basic, Neon Box, Sound Blaster Box]
the Rock Box channels the music from the stereo out to the phone line via the headphone output. It also can record conversations.
The Advanced version has a more complex wiring and a better audio quality.

Created and Designed By Video Vindicator of the Shadows of IGA

Sand Box Usage unknown. Cited in the "Crimson Box" document.

by Dr. D-Code
Year: 1985 or 1986

[Scarlet Box]
[similar to the Noise Box]
The purpose of a Scarlet box is to create a very bad connection, it can be used to crash a BBS or just make life miserable for those you seek to avenge.

Written and Created by THE PIMP

Servo Box Uses R/C car servos to change lines in poles outside of house. This could be a nice idea, but very expensive and hard to do.
Silver Box
(aka Grey Box)
[similar to Solid State Silver Box]
The silver box transforms keys 3, 6 , 9, # to operator's keys A, B, C, D.
[Slug Box]
[similar to the Neon Box]
A slug box is a recording box that stops and starts the tape recorder when a connection is made.

Date: May, 14 1990 - 10:18pm

Snow Box An underground television transmitter built using commercially available parts.
Not a phreak box.

Date: June, 13 1988

Solid State Silver Box
(can be shortened as SSSilver Box)
[similar to Silver Box]
This box uses an integrated circuit to generate the tones rather than converting a phone keypad.
(SSSilver Box)
(short name for the Solid State Silver Box)
see Solid State Silver Box
[Sound Blaster Box]
[similar to Neon Box, Rock Box]
A device that adds a normal jack interface to a telephone, allowing to send music or tones into the phone line, or to record conversations using the microphone input of a recorder. Better than a Neon Box.

by ShadowHawk
Date: March, 31 1994

Static Box This box keeps the voltage regulated so that you can avoid static, this allow a more stable line for high speed modem (which at that time meant 2400bps).
In a certan way it's the opposite of boxes like the noise box.

Created by The Usurper and The Raver of the Lords of Twilight
Date: Originally released on November, 21 1986; second release on December, 27 1987

Switch Box With the Switch Box you can put one or both phone lines on hold with visible indicators of each lines status; conference call with two people; change a phone from line #1 to line #2; and lastly, make one phone line physically dead to outside world.

by Autopsy Saw

Sword Box The sword box is just essentially a bud/beige/day-glo box with enhancements and modifications. The structural differences in the sword box make it better however, and thus safer for you to use.

by Grim Reaper/STS
Date: November, 22 1987

Tan Box
(it's not the short name of the Tangerine Box, which is a different box)
It allows you to make recordings from a phone line, and it will only record once the victim's phone is picked up.
It's like a Neon Box combined with a Beige Box.
Tan Box (2)
(it's not the short name of the Tangerine Box, which is a different box)
It serves as a phone ringer. You have two choices for ringers, a piezoelectric transducer (ringer), or a standard 8 ohm speaker.
(Tanger Box)
(short name for the Tangerine Box)
see Tangerine Box
Tangerine Box
(can be shortened as Tanger Box. Can't be shortened as Tan Box, which is a different box)
Enables you to plug it in, then listen to the conversation, without them hearing a click or anything... plus a jack for headphone, or tape.

by Happy Harley

(Tap Box)
(another name for the Lunch Box)
see Lunch Box
[Three Box]
[similar to Brown Box, Party Box, Con Box]
Use one line, another line, or both... like a con box, but better because it uses leds for which line you are on.
Tron Box
[similar to Power Box]
It will put a reverse phase singal on the line and cancel out the other phase and put a reverse phase singal running everything in the house.
It should make the electric meter run backwards.
Not a phreak box.

by Pure Evil

Urine Box
(aka Zap Box)
It basically creates a capacitative disturbance between the ring and tip wires in another's telephone headset.

by Wolfgang von Albatross of the Underground_Elite
Date: March, 2 1986

V-Box Detect voltage changes in phone lines (used for taps).
Violet Box This box allows to make calls from payphones with just one coin, avoiding the line from being released, when time is up.
The author was going to call this the "yellow, violet and brown box" but then decided that name was too long, so he'll stick to just violet, because it sounds nice.

by The Kez

White Box Turns a normal touch tone keypad into a portable unit.
This kind of box can be commonly found in a phone shop.
[White Box (2)]
[similar to Crimson Box, Green Box (2), Orange Box, Hold Box, Hold On Box, Yellow Box (2)]
A hold button.
see Crimson Box
White Gold Box A White Box and a Gold Box combined.

Created by The Traveler

Yellow Box This box can switch a payphone from working to out of order and viceversa.

by CAPTAIN HOOK
Date: February 3, 1986 - 5:47

[Yellow Box (2)]
[similar to Crimson Box, Green Box (2), Orange Box, Hold Box, Hold On Box, White Box (2)]
A hold button.
see Crimson Box
(Zap Box)
(another name for the Urine Box)
see Urine Box
The scheme and description is the same for the urine box, but it's attributed to another author.

by KiLLg0re Trout [BULge]



Issued on Elf Qrin's Hacking Lab
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