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Microsoft WebTV Hacker Sentenced

A Louisiana man who launched an e-mail virus that reprogrammed some computers to dial the 911 emergency phone number has been sentenced to six months in prison and ordered to pay $27,000 in restitution to Microsoft , authorities said.

A U.S. federal judge sentenced David Jeansonne, 44, to six months in prison and another six months of home arrest, after he admitted in February to sending the malicious e-mails to 18 subscribers of Microsoft's WebTV in 2002, according to Luke Macaulay, a spokesperson for U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California.

The television Internet service has since changed its name to MSN TV, according to Macaulay. The case was prosecuted in San Jose, Calif., because the WebTV e-mail servers are located in Santa Clara County.

Jeansonne pleaded guilty in February to intentionally damaging computers and causing a threat to public safety, according to Macaulay.

The virus was sent as an email attachment that claimed the file would enable users to change the colors on their WebTV screen. Once opened the computer dialed local emergency service 911 phone numbers, prompting police around the country to respond to at least 10 location during July 2002, Macaulay said.

Microsoft reported the incidents to the FBI at the time and assisted in the investigation, according Macaulay.



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