By Tim Greene
May 04, 2010
When the LoveBug worm hit 10 years ago, it was a different time when
people believed admirers were really reaching out to say "I love you",
personal firewalls were turned off by default and executable attachments
weren't blocked at e-mail gateways.
Those circumstances allowed the Love Letter worm -- the first Visual
Basic script worm -- to infect more than 50 million computers worldwide
within a week, causing estimated $5 billion to $8 billion in damages,
bringing down networks by maxing out their ability to fire off e-mails
and causing painstaking disinfection of affected machines.
At the time, unleashing the worm wasn't even a crime in the Philippines,
where Reomel Ramones and Onel de Guzman created and then sent it off.
ILOVEYOU wasn't the first mass-mailing worm, but it was unique in that
it knew no limits, says Roger Thompson, chief research officer for
security vendor AVG. Melissa, the first such malicious attachment, sent
copies of itself to just the first 50 entries in e-mail address books.
ILOVEYOU sent it to all of them and kept on sending. "It didn't know
when to shut up," Thompson says.
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