Crime Branch Advisory
The Nigerian Scam
From the Press - Cyber Crime
'Love' virus chaos spreads
Thursday, 4 May, 2000, 19:28 GMT 20:28 UK
The virus spread at great speed around the world
A computer virus spread by e-mail
messages titled "ILOVEYOU" has caused havoc in the United
States after crippling government and business computers in Asia
Among the organisations affected
have been the American State Department and the CIA, and major companies
like Ford and Time-Warner.
The virus, dubbed the Love Bug, first
appeared in Hong Kong in the late afternoon, and spread through
e-mail systems after a user opened one of the contaminated messages.
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 that some 1.27 million computer files were
infected worldwide, with nearly 1m in the US.
The Love Bug e-mail appeared on computer
screens in both houses of Congress in Washington and at the Pentagon.
The White House, Congress, the FBI
and the Pentagon were all affected.
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.
The FBI have opened a criminal investigation.
Reports suggest the virus may have originated in the Philippines.
ISP Sky Internet Inc. in the Philippines are reported by ZDNet News
to be hunting for a code writer who signed the virus code "Spyder,
Manila, Philippines" and added the comment: "I hate go
The "Love Bug":
tempting to open
Computer experts advise people using
Microsoft Outlook who receive the e-mail not to open it, but to
shift-delete it immediately.
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
Any one who opens the attachment
triggers the virus, which automatically copies the same e-mail to
everyone on the users address book.
The result is that systems are overloaded
by the sheer volume of internet traffic, forcing them to crash or
be closed down.
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.
It crashed all the
|Dow Jones, Hong Kong
Virus technologists at MessageLabs
said that, while Melissa generated 200 copies of the virus in its
first day, the Love Bug managed to infect 1,200 people in the first
"The virus has used every possible
way to spread itself," said a Messagelabs spokesman.
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.
Europe, Asia hit
Europe was hard hit on Wednesday,
with the UK House of Commons, the Danish parliament and the Swiss
federal government computer networks, along with many banks and
other companies among the victims.
It's a particularly
|peoplesound.com director Andrew
"I have to tell you that, sadly,
this affectionate greeting contains a virus which has immobilized
the House's internal communication system," said British opposition
Conservative Party spokesman, Sir George Young.
"This means that no member can
receive e-mails from outside, nor indeed can we communicate with
each other by e-mail."
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.