An Indian American teenager has been indicted for allegedly creating a cyberattack that all but took down 911 systems in the greater Phoenix, Ariz., area last month.
Meetkumar Hiteshbhai Desai, 18, is facing four felony counts of computer tampering, according to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.
Desai was arrested Oct. 27 after multiple agencies, including Surprise and Peoria police and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s office, reported an influx of emergency call hang-ups between Oct. 24 and Oct. 26.
According to a sheriff's office statement, more than 100 hang-up 911 calls were recorded within a few minutes late Oct. 25.
Investigators traced the calls and discovered they originated from a link posted to Twitter, according to the statement.
The link was to a site named "Meet Desai" and its domain was hosted out of San Francisco. When the link was clicked, it continually called 911 and would not let the caller hang up, the sheriff’s statement said.
The volume of calls had the potential to shut down 911 service across Maricopa County, the sheriff's office said.
The teen told authorities his intent was to make a non-harmful, yet annoying bug that was meant to be funny, officials said.
After being approached by an online friend with a bug, Desai altered the bug to include pop-ups, prompts to open email apps and activate an iOS device automatic telephone dialing.
The teenager wrote all the coding in the bug.
Desai, who admitted to an interest in programs, bugs and viruses that he could manipulate and change, told detectives that Apple Inc. would pay and credit him for discovering such bugs and viruses.