Teenager arrested after sending threat over Xbox Live

According to media reports, a Maryland teen, who has not been identified by name, stole the login credentials of an Xbox Live user from New Jersey and began sending messages to various students at his school, allegedly writing that he intended to bring a gun the next day and open fire.

Concerned parents called the police, who tracked down the originating Xbox Live account. The account holder was met by authorities, but convinced them he wasn't the one who sent the message. From there, police contacted Microsoft to track down the login history of the account in question, and were able to locate the actual suspect in Maryland.

A press release from the Union County Prosecutor's Office in New Jersey (as a means of spreading local awareness about the dangers of online communication) said that the teen was able to get the other user's username and password from an online transaction involving Madden NFL, on a third-party site.

In the end, there was never any real safety threat - authorities say it was just a prank. But the teen is now learning a hard lesson after being charged with "sending a threatening message via the Internet." Remember kids, death threats aren't protected speech.

[Source: County of Union, New Jersey]

Feb 14, 2011