SEATTLE (AP) – Microsoft Corp. said late Thursday that parts of its Windows source code – the tightly guarded blueprints of its dominant operating system – had been leaked over the Internet.

Microsoft spokesman Tom Pilla said in an interview with The Associated Press that some incomplete portions of the Windows 2000 and Windows NT4 source code had been “illegally made available on the Internet.”

Access to the source code could allow hackers to exploit the operating system and attack machines running Windows, which is used on hundreds of millions of computers worldwide.

The company was made aware of the leak Thursday and is investigating,

Pilla said. He did not know how much of the code had been leaked or how many people may have gained access to it. The company could not immediately pinpoint the source of the leak, and has contacted law enforcement authorities.

Pilla said there was no indication the code leak was a result of a breach of Microsoft’s corporate network. There was no known immediate impact to Microsoft customers, he said.

AP-ES-02-12-04 2145EST

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