Microsoft is investigating rumours that the source code underlying its Windows NT and Windows 2000 operating systems has been leaked and is circulating on the Internet.
News site Neowin is believed to be first with the news and stated on its website: 'It would appear that two packages are circulating on the internet, one being the source code to Windows 2000, and the other being the source code to Windows NT.
'At this time, it is hard to establish whether or not full code has leaked, and this will undoubtedly remain the situation until an attempt is made to compile them. Microsoft is currently unavailable for comment surrounding this leak so we have no official response from them at the time of writing.
'This leak is a shock not only to Neowin, but to the wider IT industry. The ramifications of this leak are far reaching and devastating,' the site said.
'This reporter does not wish to be sensationalist, but the number of industries and critical systems that are based around these technologies that could be damaged by new exploits found in this source code is something that doesn't bare (sic) thinking about,' it said.
In a statement to media, Microsoft did not deny nor confirm the rumour, stating: 'The rumour regarding the availability of Windows source code is based on the speculation of an individual who saw a small section of un-identified code and thought it looked like Windows code. Microsoft is looking into this as a matter of due diligence.'
Interest in the story was so high, Neowin's site had ongoing server issues.
Neowin stated: 'We ask that for the wider benefit of the IT community that members and readers support Microsoft by forwarding anything they know about the leak to the Microsoft's Anti-Piracy department.
The rumours spread chaos on discussion forums on Friday, however users on Full Disclosure and Slashdot were sceptical about the claims.