Cyber attacks on 911 call centers remain a top concern after Phoenix arrest

Posted at 8:53 PM, Mar 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-04 00:35:21-05

He’s out of jail, but a Phoenix man is still in a lot of trouble and all over the national radar after investigators say he uncovered a major flaw in the country’s 911 phone system.

Meetkumar Desai, 18, was arrested last October after investigators say he tweeted out a link that took over cell phones and forced them to dial 911 over and over again.

It crippled centers in several states, according to investigators, by inundating them with hundreds of calls.          

The Federal Communication Commission says hackers with the ability to bring down the critical systems is a major issue.

Local authorities are aware of the potential weakness in the systems.

"911 cyber security is a huge problem, because we don't want the system to be hacked, and we don't want to have anyone take the system down,” said Liz Graeber, the 911 administrator for the Maricopa Regional Dispatch Office for Phoenix Fire.

According to a 2016 FCC report, the Navajo Nation, as well as five separate states, spent more than $25 million dollars to combat hackers with cyber security measures.

Phoenix Fire is in the process of updating its phone system to something known as “Next Gen 911.”

Desai is facing several felony charges and there’s a hearing on his case set for March 30th.