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Teenager Arrested for Launching Accidental DDoS Attack on 911 Systems via Twitter

Cyber Crimes Unit of Maricopa County, Arizona went into full force on October 23, after reports of serious disruptions into the emergency 911 system for the entire Phoenix metro area. According to the official statement from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, the Sheriff's Office communications division received reports of over a hundred 911 hang-up calls late Tuesday night which was believed to be originating from smartphones and tablets. A Twitter linked appeared to be the cause of dialing 911 repeatedly and not allowing users to hang up. Cyber Crimes Detectives found a Twitter account with about 12,000 followers which encouraged followers to click on the link to see the latest post.

— Detectives were able to pinpoint and shut down a web page hosting the malicious code before 911 emergency systems were fully compromised. Cyber Crimes investigators identified the web page belonging to a subject by the name of "Meet Desai" and the suspect was later arrested and taken into custody at the Major Crimes Division for questioning Sunday night.

Summary of Desai's account of the incident as stated in the official police report: Meet explained to Sheriff's detectives that he was interested in programs, bugs, and viruses which he could manipulate and change to later inform Apple about to fix their bug issues for further iOS updates. He claimed that Apple would pay for information about bugs and viruses and provide that particular programmer with credit for the discovery. Meet also told investigators he had an online friend that provided him with a bug that they thought they should look into and tweak. Meet looked at the bug and discovered that he could manipulate the function and add annoying pop-ups, commands to open an email, and activate the telephone dialing feature on iOS cell phones by utilizing a javascript code that he created. Meet claimed that his intention was to make a non-harmful, but annoying bug that he believed was "funny". Meet stated he did manipulate the bug to include the phone number for emergency services 1+911. Meet stated 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". Meet stated 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 people's 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 Hiteshbhai Desai was transported to the 4th Avenue Jail where he was booked on three counts of computer tampering felony, on Monday, October 24.

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Related topics: Cyberattack, DDoS

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