‘Funny bug’ lands Indian-origin teen in trouble

SAN FRANCISCO: An Indian-origin teen has been arrested in the United States for carrying out cyber attack on Arizona’s police emergency services with several bogus calls.

Meetkumar Hiteshbhai Desai was taken into custody after the police department, Arizona, notified the Sheriff’s Office of more than 100 hang-up 911 calls.

The 18-year-old claimed that it was a non-harmful joke gone horribly wrong. Arizona police arrested him on three counts of computer tampering. According to Sheriff’s Office, Interference with critical infrastructure could have disrupted the 911 system in the Phoenix area and potentially other states.

Investigators traced the calls and found out that they originated from a link posted in Twitter. The link was traced to a site called “Meet Desai” and its domain was traced out of San Francisco. When the link was clicked, it continually called 911 and would not let the caller to hang up.

“Meet claims that his intention was to make a non-harmful, but annoying bug that he believed was ‘funny’,” the Sheriff’s Office statement said.

Desai told investigators that he was approached by an online friend with a bug. Desai then tweaked the bug so it would add pop-ups, prompts to open e-mail applications and activation of automatic telephone dialing on iOS devices, all via coding that Desai wrote himself.

Desai told sheriff’s detectives that he was interested in programs, bugs and viruses that he could manipulate and change. Desai said Apple Inc., the hardware and software company, would pay and credit him for discovering such bugs and viruses.

The MCSO cybercrimes unit executed a search warrant and seized multiple items at Desai’s residence that will be forensically examined, the Sheriff’s Office said.

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