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911 Virus hits Houston
Kevin Poulsen, SecurityFocus 2000-04-03

A federal investigation in Texas has uncovered a virus that calls for help.

The FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) is warning of a new Windows virus that wipes out hard drives and uses victim's modems to dial 911.

According to a NIPC advisory released Saturday morning, the virus spreads by scanning IP address in search of open file shares. The malicious code was initially planted by attackers scanning "several thousand" subscribers of AOL, AT&T, MCI and NetZero, and was discovered in a "recent and breaking FBI case." Known victims are thus-far limited to Houston, Texas.

If unchecked, the virus could cause "emergency authorities to check out substantial numbers of 'false positive' calls," the advisory notes.

Authorities are urging anyone with information on the 911 virus to make a phone call of their own: to NIPC or the nearest FBI office.

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