Verizon's Expanded Announcement System EAS
By Captain B and ic0n
Telco error messages ... We've all heard one at some point. An atypical error message usually starts off with those three tones, known as SIT (Special Information Tones) followed by, "We're sorry. The number you have reached..." etc. But, have you ever wondered about the recording process for phone company error messages, or how they're stored, accessed, modified, or deleted when need be? Well, if you happen to live in my part of Verizon's service area, Verizon maintains a phone system they call their Expanded Announcement System. Now, due to the fairly potent nature of this system, I won't be disclosing certain important specifics here, such as the phone number to dial, or the passcode to enter in. But, I will tell you that once inside the system, you can listen to, record, modify, or delete error messages. The thing I was kind of surprised to learn about is that a single telco error message is usually two or more individual recordings pieced together to form a single error message. And actually, the system refers to those individual recordings as a "message". And, an entire error message put together from those individual message recordings is called an "announcement". Each individual message in an announcement is stored in a slot, which the system refers to as a "position". And, every other position in an announcement seems to be blank (doesn't contain a message). I think this is because it contains a "message function" instead. Which, I believe tells the system whether to play another message for the next position in the announcement. And, if so, it would also tell it which one to play. Otherwise, the announcement is deemed finished, and therefore ends if no message function is contained in the next position. In other words, a message function serves as the parameters within an announcement. And, as you probably guessed, there exists a feature in the menus to "define a message function". And, although I didn't mess with that feature to play it safe, I imagine it could be a fairly involved process. By the way, if you were to record over an existing message with one of your own, all announcements that used that particular message within it would now feature your re-recording of that message. However, the system seems to not allow for any recorded messages assigned for use in many announcements to be recorded over. Apparently, this is some sort of failsafe measure. However, you can always re-record a message that's hardly assigned much for use within announcements, or isn't assigned for use in any announcement. Also, you can record a brand new message within any blank "message number" that doesn't already contain a recorded message. Or, just use option 5 from within the message administration menu (accessible from the main menu) to create a new message/message number from scratch. The system information feature in the main menu lets you listen to a list of open announcement numbers, message functions, and open or unused message numbers. Unused message numbers are recorded, but unassigned messages. Different announcements and message functions are stored seperately in individual announcement numbers, and message function numbers on the system. Just like how the different messages are stored seperately in individual message numbers. All in all, Verizon's Expanded Announcement System is pretty complex and vast, with a storage of thousands of messages, and lots of announcements and message functions. And, an almost limitless number of ways to combine them all. As a result, I would guess it could take a pretty good amount of time to put together an entire announcement. Especially if it's all done from scratch, rather than through modifying or using any existing messages, message functions, or announcements. But, I don't think I recommend spending long sessions logged into the Expanded Announcement System in the first place. Especially not during regular Verizon business hours. (It's just good common sense.) Also, I don't know whether this system is logging ANI, either. Besides, It's pretty obvious that they intended this system to be for telco tech personnel use only, anyway. By the way, you don't have to live in my local or regional area to access the Expanded Announcement System, since it's dialable through a standard 10-digit phone number.
Shout outs: ic0n (as always), Hopping Goblin, OldSkoolPhreak.com and all the Agents of Freedom, Dual Parallel, Stankdawg.com and all the forum krew over there, all the people behind the screens at hackerhost.com, CueBiz and the Telco Insiders, Decoder, Unity, Phreakblaze, White Raven, Bagel, Reaver, and all the old LPH krew. Fellow SkyTel legend Mr. P, and, the countless people who've helped me and ic0n make our site www.hackerhost.com/lph what It's grown into.
P.S. I have also come to learn that the EAS is not exclusive to only Verizon service areas. But, these EA systems are quite rare. So, good luck finding one.
Verizon's Expanded Announcement System Verizon's Expanded Announcement System
Expanded Announcement System Expanded Announcement System