Category: police

Oct 28 2016

iPhone hack that threatened emergency 911 system lands teen in jail

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Authorities said they arrested an 18-year-old iPhone app developer on charges of felony computer tampering after he unleashed code that threatened to take down emergency 911 systems in a large swath of Arizona and possibly other states.

Meetkumar Hiteshbhai Desai stands accused of publishing Web links that caused iPhones to repeatedly dial 911, according to a release published Thursday by Arizona's Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. On Tuesday night, officials alleged, the 911 system operated by the Surprise, Arizona, police department received more than 100 hang-up calls in a matter of minutes. The volume allegedly put authorities "in immediate danger of losing service to their switches." The emergency systems for the nearby Peoria Police Department and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office also received a large number of repeated calls. Agencies in California and Texas were also affected, authorities said.

(credit: @meetheindiankid)

The release said the 911-dialing code was hosted on a site with the name "Meet Desai." A link posted on the TheHackSpot YouTube channel and one or more Twitter accounts then encouraged people to click on the link. Authorities said they found evidence it had been clicked 1,849 times. In an e-mail, the operator of the YouTube channel said: "The link does not contain anything harmful, and I am not associated with any type of personal hacking. Just a fun prank that many other big YouTube channels covered as well."

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Apr 14 2015

Lawyer representing whistle blowers finds malware on drive supplied by cops

An Arkansas lawyer representing current and former police officers in a contentious whistle-blower lawsuit is crying foul after finding three distinct pieces of malware on an external hard drive supplied by police department officials.

The hard drive was provided last year by the Fort Smith Police Department to North Little Rock attorney Matt Campbell in response to a discovery demand filed in the case. Campbell is representing three current or former police officers in a court action, which was filed under Arkansas' Whistle-Blower Act. The lawsuit alleges former Fort Smith police officer Don Paul Bales and two other plaintiffs were illegally investigated after reporting wrongful termination and overtime pay practices in the department.

According to court documents filed last week in the case, Campbell provided police officials with an external hard drive for them to load with e-mail and other data responding to his discovery request. When he got it back, he found something he didn't request. In a subfolder titled D:Bales Court Order, a computer security consultant for Campbell allegedly found three well-known trojans, including:

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Dec 03 2013

New product shuts car engines off with a radio pulse

Bullitt would likely not approve.
Warner Brothers

The company E2V has developed a prototype device that uses a radio-frequency pulse to shut down a car’s engine at range, according to a report from the BBC. While the range of the device is fairly short, it worked on a handful of cars and motorbikes and could also potentially be used on boats.

The product, named the RF Safe-stop, works by sending an RF pulse to a car at up to 50 meters (164 feet) away. The pulse “confuses” the car’s electronic systems, which the BBC said made the “dashboard warning lights and dial [behave] erratically.” The engine then stalls, and the car comes to a stop. How safely and quickly the vehicle would stop depends on the vehicle, and this technique would not work on older vehicles.

Engineer Magazine suggests the RF Safe-stop could be used for stopping vehicles that are suspected of being car bombs. Likewise, the Safe-stop could cut police chases short or be installed in a fixed area to prevent cars from entering. The Association of Chief Police Officers, speaking to the BBC, said that it would be a safer alternative to stopping two-wheeled vehicles than shooting out their tires. E2V does not specify how narrowly the Safe-stop can be targeted.

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Jan 06 2013

“Julian Assange of Wikileaks arrested in London” hoax

Controversial Wikileaks pinup Julian Assange has been arrested after slipping out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London to seek medical treatment at a nearby clinic.

Or has he?