Reports are coming in from the US of the first 'virus' to affect Microsoft's WebTV boxes.
The malicious code causes the machine to dial 911, the US emergency services number, and has reportedly resulted in police officers being dispatched to WebTV users' homes.
Microsoft, which bought WebTV in 1997 and turned it into MSNTV, has said that the machines are being hijacked by a virus that spreads via email.
Once the malicious attachment is executed, the WebTV box reboots and dials out to 911.
An officer is usually dispatched to the caller's address if the caller does not reply, leading to a number of confused WebTV owners finding a policeman on their doorstep.
But members of the geek community have pointed out that the 'virus' looks more like a very old and well known modem exploit, which affects all operating systems with a dial up connection.
Most modems today use the Hayes Command Set for their instructions, and a glitch in the way modems handle certain strings leaves them susceptible to denial of service attacks.
But they can also be instructed to dial a different number than the one specified in Dial Up Networking. This is known as the +++ATH0 attack and looks very similar to the WebTV symptoms.
Microsoft has set up a help line in the US to deal with the problem on 1 800 469 3288.
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