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'Love Bug' Crashes Computer Systems Worldwide; FBI Launches Investigation

Aired May 4, 2000 - 2:00 p.m. ET

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

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Beware of any e-mail that says "ILOVEYOU." It could give your computer a serious case of heartburn. The "ILOVEYOU" virus is spreading fast and crashing computer systems around the world.

CNN's Ann Kellan joins us with details -- Ann.

ANN KELLAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hundreds of companies and a lot of people have been affected by this e-mail "ILOVEYOU" virus. A lot of people come into work as I did today and greeted by their e-mail, by a long list of "ILOVEYOU" messages.

And it's OK, I guess, to open it, only I wouldn't recommend it. But I will show you for this purpose what happens when you do open it. It says, "Kindly check the attached love letter coming from me." But this is the key thing. This little attachment here, "Love Letter For You," do not open that because what that does is it immediately sets the virus loose on your address book. And you can see a long list of addresses and it will send that virus to everybody on that list.

Now, so far it has been more of a disruption than causing major harm. We have had some reports that some hard drives have been affected. Mostly graphics and music files have been corrupted by this, but we have not received a lot of reports on that. Mainly it's a nuisance because technical staffs have had to basically block the e- mail coming in and out of companies so they can try to fix the problem.

Now, what you can do to fix the problem is Network Associates has done a patch to prevent that e-mail -- the "ILOVEYOU" e-mail from coming into your computer. That's Dr. Solomon, www.drsolomon.com. You might want to go to Network Associates' Web page and download a patch that would block the e-mail. But if you already have the e-mail on your e-mail system, delete it. Don't do what I did, but delete it immediately, and that will prevent it from infecting all those other address books.

Back to you.

ALLEN: All right, Ann Kellan at CNN Interactive.

For more on where this virus is spreading, let's go over to Lou. WATERS: Yes, to give you an example of how far and fast this computer virus is spreading, it already has been deleted from U.S. congressional computers and at the Pentagon.

CNN's Chris Black joins us now from Capitol Hill with her damage assessment -- Chris.

CHRIS BLACK, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Lou, the "ILOVEYOU" computer virus, already nicknamed the "Love Bug," has bitten computers all over Washington in both business offices and government offices. The virus was detected earlier today on both the House of Representatives and the Senate computers, as well as in a number of government offices, including the Pentagon, which is the largest government computer user. It was also found at the Departments of Energy, Transportation and Commerce, and a number of independent agencies.

The FBI has launched an investigation. Earlier today, an inter- agency task force met to assess the damage in the attack and determine where it -- try to determine where it came from. But so far, there are no reports of any serious damage.

Here on Capitol Hill, the Sergeant at Arms Office on the Senate side alerted every single Senate office just as their counterpart on the House side did and told them not to open any message that said "ILOVEYOU," but delete it right away. That word seems to have gotten out. There doesn't seem to be too much lasting damage from this attack of the "Love Bug" -- Lou.

WATERS: Chris, I have one question you probably can't answer, but I heard you mention that they're looking for where this all began. How does something like this get started? Does someone sit at a computer and decide they're going to infect computers across the land?

BLACK: Well, that's exactly how it does start, Lou. Somebody creates a virus and sets it loose. And there are some early indications that some teenager in the Philippines may have started this. It will take a while before they track this one down.

But because the virus doesn't seem to be too sophisticated and it doesn't seem to be doing too much damage, it looks like it may have been the work of an amateur computer person, and they may track it down.

WATERS: All right, you did know the answer. So proud.

CNN's Chris Black up on Capitol Hill.

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