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'Love Bug' Computer Virus Spreading at Rapid Rate Around the World

Aired May 4, 2000 - 1:01 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: From Hong Kong to Capitol Hill, three little words are putting computer users in a hateful mood today. The words are "I love you," and if you see them on the title line of an e- mail today, don't assume you've got a secret admirer.

CNN's Ann Kellan joins us now with what, we're already for some reason, well, it had to happen, we're calling it the "Love Bug."

What's going on?

ANN KELLAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The "Love Bug," yes, don't take it seriously, you're absolutely right about that. It is a virus and it is spreading at a rapid rate around the world. It started in Asia early this morning as people were getting up and getting those "I love you" e-mail messages.

Now how the virus spreads, and I got a few of them today, so you might want to take a look at my e-mail. You read the message usually from someone familiar to you and it says "I love you." So you want to open it, right? And that won't set anything loose, if you do open it, so maybe we can try to open it.

But if you open the attachment, that will set off the virus. It will go into your e-mail address book and send that "I love you" virus to everyone on your list, and that could be a lot of people.

Now we've had some reports that this virus has disrupted files in people's hard drives from word documents, graphics, and we have not received a lot of those reports yet. Right now, it is more of a nuisance. It's basically stopped the mail at dozens of companies, government agencies, even the White House shut down its computers for a couple of hours today as technical support staff stop e-mail deliveries while they develop a code to block that e-mail from coming in.

WATERS: So it can be fixed. We got a message earlier today from our technical support team saying don't open this up, we're working on it. so...

KELLAN: Once you get the e-mail, the fix is: don't open it. Just delete the e-mail immediately, just don't open it. But Network Associates and other companies are working on ways to block the e-mail from getting into a lot of computers and we will let you know where you can get that once they have that up and running.

WATERS: That's a tough one to resist opening up, an "I love you" note.

KELLAN: "I love you," I know.

WATERS: It gets into someone's address book and sends it to -- is that why -- somebody you know that's sending you...

KELLAN: Everybody on your e-mail list, send it to you, right. That's why it will look familiar, but don't open it, delete it.

WATERS: All right, you've been warned. Ann Kellan, thanks.

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