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Hacking magazine Phrack is closing after 20 years of publishing after its editorial team decided to call it a day. The final date for submissions for the special hardback last issue of the mag was Sunday 10 July. Issue 63 will be released at the Defcon and WhatTheHack2005 hacker conventions later this month.

The first issue of the magazine (which styles itself as the house magazine of the international computer underground) was released on 11 November, 1985, and concentrated almost exclusively on phreaking or hacking into the telephone system. Since that time, the magazine has been through a lot, including a law suit from Bell South. Phrack editor Knight Lightning was indicted for reprinting the contents of a "confidential" document, called E911, but the case against him collapsed after it was revealed the E911 could be purchased over the phone for $13. The magazine spanned the evolution of hacking from the days of bulletin boards to 3G mobiles with a knowledgeable, politically aware and frequently controversial take on information security. Topics covered included hacking, phreaking, spying, carding, cybernetics, radio, electronics, forensics, reverse engineering, cryptography, anarchy, conspiracy and world news. The magazine is made available to the public, as often as possible, and free of charge with content republished on Phrack's website.

"Phrack is still really well known," said Ollie, current editor of the magazine told BBC online. "There are a lot of security magazines but no hacking magazines."

What about 2600, the hacker quarterly? Anyway Noted SF author Bruce Sterling reckons its likely Phrack will be revived in some form. "Any set of unruly teenagers could start Phrack back up because that's who started it in the first place," he said. In a statement, Phrack outgoing editorial team said it would hand over to a new group that wanted to restart the magazine. Meanwhile there's a promise that Phrack's website will be maintained until 2007. ®

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