Arizona Teen Arrested For Disrupting iPhone 911 Emergency Services

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An 18-year-old teenager from Arizona has been arrested after he disrupted the emergency 911 system for the Phoenix metro area and surrounding states this week with a malicious link shared on social media.

iPhone app developer MeetKumar Hiteshbhai Desai is accused of publishing Web links that caused iPhones to repeatedly dial 911.

Per 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.

An official 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.” 

“Sheriff’s Detectives were able to identify ‘Meet’ as the suspect behind the 911 disruption and was taken into custody and transported him to the Major Crimes Division for questioning late last night. 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 how 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.”

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