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From the Press - Cyber Crime
FBI launches Love Bug inquiry
Friday, 5 May, 2000, 03:48 GMT 04:48 UK
The virus spread at great speed around
The Federal Bureau of Investigation
(FBI) in the United States has launched a criminal inquiry into
the source of a new computer virus that attacked systems all over
US government agencies including
the State Department, the CIA and the Defence Department said their
computer systems had been hit by the virus but that top-security
material had not been affected.
The virus, which first surfaced in
the Far East, has been called the Love Bug, as it is contained in
innocent-looking electronic-mail messages entitled "'I love
The virus was activated when computer-users
opened the file, prompting their machines to send the infected file
to every contact in their address lists.
This created a huge volume of electronic
mail that overwhelmed computer systems.
Copycat viruses, able to elude anti-virus
software designed to block "I love you" messages, are
reported to have followed within hours.
Some users reported receiving the
same e-mail, but one that replaced the "I love you" wording
with "very funny joke".
Experts say more are likely to follow.
Reports suggest the Love Bug may
have originated in the Philippines.
The internet service provider Sky
Internet Inc. in the Philippines is reported by ZDNet News to be
hunting for the author who signed the virus code "Spyder, Manila,
Philippines" and added the comment: "I hate go to school."
Tackling the virus
|• Do not
• Delete it using shift del
• As with all e-mails, if in doubt do not run any
attachments you are not expecting
• If you have run the attachment, isolate your machine
from any network and phone your help desk or seek expert advice
• Remember to keep your anti-virus software up-to-date
and be vigilant about attachments
Analysts estimate hundreds of millions
of dollars of damage has been caused in the US, the most computer-dependent
country in the world.
Computer security firm Trend Micro
estimated at 1915GMT on Thursday that some 1.27 million computer
files were infected worldwide, with nearly 1million in the US.
The State Department was forced to
disconnect its computer systems from the internet, according to
US companies were likewise forced
to take their e-mail systems off-line to isolate the spread of the
virus and it was blamed for shutting down the web site, the state
lottery in Florida.
It spread at great speed. One DJ
in Texas received the e-mail virus 1,500 times.
Europe was also hard hit on Thursday.
Among the victims were the UK House of Commons, the Danish parliament
and the Swiss federal government computer networks, along with many
banks and other companies.
About 10% of businesses around the
UK are believed to have been affected.
In Asia, Dow Jones Newswires and
the Asian Wall Street Journal were among the victims.
Computer experts advise people using
Microsoft Outlook who receive the e-mail not to open it, but to
shift-delete it immediately.
It crashed all the
|Dow Jones, Hong Kong
If the message is opened, users should
on no account open the attachment that comes with it.
If the attachment is opened, experts
advise users to log off, switch off the computer, and contact their
The virus, identified as a "worm",
spreads in the same way as the Melissa virus, which last year infected
about one million computers, clogging whole networks in the United
States and causing $80 million in damage.
Experts say the Love Bug is much
more serious than Melissa as it overwrites audio and picture files,
replacing them with its own code. The virus is reactivated if one
of these files is subsequently opened.