911 call center

A US judge sentenced a 19-year-old teenager to three years probation for a prank gone wrong that resulted in the accidental DDoS and near crash of the Mariposa County's 911 emergency service.

The prank took place in late October 2016, when Meetkumar Hiteshbhai Desai published a link on various social networks.

Users that accessed the link from their iOS devices saw their phones automatically dial, hang-up, and redial 911 emergency services.

Desai told police he was bug hunting when someone shared the exploit with him. He created two versions, one that filled a user's screen with popups, and another that continuously redialed 911.

When he created the link to prank friends, he used the wrong exploit, which resulted in impromptu calls to local 911 operators.

A later investigation revealed that 1,849 people clicked Desai's link and caused over 300 hang-up calls to 911 services. Most of the people were locals, Desai's friends.

Emergency systems for the Peoria Police Department, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, and the Surprise Police Department were flooded with 911 hang-up calls, and one 911 center nearly crashed due to the incident.

Other emergency systems from Texas and California said they experienced a similar spike in hang-up calls the day Desai shared the link online, but not as bad as the Arizona counties.

Officers tracked down the source of the calls and arrested Desai soon after on October 24. The teenager showed remorse for his actions and got a light sentencing because he cooperated with authorities during the investigation. Sentencing provisions will allow authorities to monitor Desai’s computer activity while on probation.

Image credits: Wikimedia Foundation

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