Suspect arrested in Phoenix-area cyber attack on 911 phone systems

18-year-old Meetkumar Hiteshbhai Desai arrested for alleged computer tampering.

PHOENIX - Meetkumar Hiteshbhai Desai, 18, was arrested and booked into the 4th Avenue Jail on three counts of felony computer tampering.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Cyber Crimes Unit says he is the one behind a series of 911 hang-up calls that have affected multiple agencies in the Valley.

According to a release from MCSO, the Surprise Police Department received over 100 911 hang-up calls late Tuesday night.

The department received the calls within minutes of each other and was in danger of losing service to its switches.

The Peoria Police Department and MCSO, as well as agencies in California and Texas, also received a large number of the same kind of hang-up calls.

Investigators were able to determine the cyber attack was linked to a Twitter link and webpage.

They later identified and arrested 18-year-old Meetkumar Hiteshbhai Desai for his involvement in the 911 disruption.

Desai told investigators he had an online friend who gave him a computer bug to tweak.

Desai said he figured out he could manipulate the bug’s function to add annoying pop ups, commands to open email and activate the dialing feature on iPhones.

MCSO said Desai claimed that his intention was to make an annoying bug that he believed was "funny.”

He told investigators he did included the phone number for emergency services -- but had no intention of sending it out to the public.

According to MCSO, Desai said he may have accidentally pushed the harmful version of the bug out to the Twitter link.

MCSO said Desai created the bugs because he wanted to be recognized in the hacker and programming community as someone with skills.

Copyright 2016 KPNX


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