This past week, amidst all the news about new DDoS attacks raising concerns across the board and internet providers suffering major setbacks, a man in the state of Arizona in the United States was arrested for a very concerning reason.
He had triggered a Distributed Denial-Of-Service cyberattack targeting 911, the calling system ordinary people rely on in case of emergencies. The individual, identified as Meetkumar Hiteshbhai Desai, has reportedly owned a YouTube channel and blog detailing all the vulnerabilities he had discovered. Reports indicate he posted a tweet containing a java script exploit triggering phone calls and tablets to repeatedly call 911. This is a very simple and yet very dangerous version of a DDoS attack.
Unfortunately, above 1,000 users actually clicked on the exploit and emergency call centers were flooded across the United States with more than 100 calls in a span of less than a few minutes. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department was allegedly informed by Desai that a friend had revealed the vulnerability to him and that he merely tweaked the bug a bit to launch a series of pop-ups, start opening e-mails and also activate phones to begin dialing. Desai said in his remarks to the police that he was merely being “funny.”
Desai also claimed he may have mistakenly tweeted out the link to one specific version of the exploit that only called 911, and yet he had no such objective in the first place. He also claimed he only used the bug for fun to only gain recognition on Twitter and maybe increase his follower statistics in an online community of programmers. Desai is currently facing various charges, including three counts of computer tampering, along with a number of his devices being seized.