Hacker pleads guilty in WebTV case

A Louisianan has pleaded guilty to sending an email virus that caused WebTV users' computers to dial the 911 emergency service without their knowledge.

David Jeansonne of Metairie, Louisiana admitted he sent email to 20 WebTV subscribers carrying a virus in an attachment in July 2002. Once opened, the attachment changed the dial-in telephone number in the user's WebTV box to 911. The next time the user attempted to log in to WebTV, the computer dialled 911 instead of the local modem telephone number supplied to the user by WebTV to access its servers in Santa Clara.

"This prompted unnecessary emergency police dispatches at numerous locations around the country in July 2002," said the U.S. Attorney's office for the Northern District of California in a statement.

"At least 10 WebTV users reported that the local police either called or visited their residences in response to the unnecessary 9-1-1 calls."

The 44-year-old man faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

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