18-Year old arrested for iPhone hack that flooded US 911 system with emergency calls

Eighteen-year-old iPhone app developer Meetkumar Hiteshbhai Desai was arrested by Arizona’s Maricopa County Cyber Crimes Unit after he shared a code on Twitter that led to nearly shutting down the 911 emergency system in major areas of Arizona and possibly other states.


According to authorities, Desai created a JavaScript exploit, which he shared with his friends on Twitter and other websites. The link shared by Desai saw users who clicked on it have their iPhones automatically and repeatedly dial 911. The volume of the calls allegedly put the responders and authorities “in immediate danger of losing services to their switches”. Authorities said apart from Arizona, agencies in California and Texas were also affected.

According to law enforcement authorities, Desai’s link, which was posted on more than one Twitter account and TheHackSpot YouTube channel, was clicked over 1,800 times. The operator of the YouTube channel said: “The link does not contain anything harmful, and I am not associated with any type of personal hacking. Just a fun prank that many other big YouTube channels covered as well,” ArsTechnica reported.

A press release from the Maricopa County’s Sheriff’s Office said: “The Surprise Police Department received the over (100) hang up 911 phone calls within a matter of minutes due to this cyber-attack and were in immediate danger of losing service to their switches. The Peoria Police Department and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office also received a large volume of these repeated 911 hang up calls and had the potential danger of losing service throughout Maricopa County.

The Maricopa county’s Sheriff press release noted that the 18-year old Meetkumar said he did manipulate the bug to include the phone number for emergency services 1+911. And that although he did add that feature to the bug he had no intention of pushing it out to the public, because he knew it was illegal and people would “freak out”.

He said that he may have accidentally pushed the harmful version of the (911) bug out to the Twitter link instead of the lesser annoying bug that only caused pop ups, dialing to make peoples devices freeze up and reboot.

Meet later claimed that he developed these malicious bugs and viruses to be recognized in the hacker and programming community as someone who was very skilled.

Meetkumar Desai  was arrested on three counts of computer tampering, two of which incorporate class 2 felonies, as the 911 system is considered critical infrastructure.

Curled from www.ibtimes.co.uk

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