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Beware of the ILOVEYOU Virus !!!

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This is real, not a hoax.  The email server at Halff has ground to a halt
today due to this new virus, and nearly one-half of our large fleet of PCs
appear to be damaged.  Do not open any email or attachments titled ILOVEYOU,
or anything similar to that.  Delete any such messages, and then empty your
trash folder.  Also, update your virus signature files right away.
InoculateIT, Norton Antivirus, and others have updated their signature files
to protect you.  

Stan R. Caldwell. P.E.
Infected in Dallas

********************************************************************

  'I Love You' Virus Hits Computers


  Updated 12:25 PM ET May 4, 2000


  By BRUCE MEYERSON, AP Business Writer 

  A new software virus spread quickly around the world today,
  swamping U.S. computer networks with e-mails entitled
  "ILOVEYOU" after crippling government and business
  computers in Asia and Europe. 

  Experts said they were stunned by the speed and wide reach of
  the virus - which struck members of U.S. Congress and British
  parliament - and warned computer users not to open the
  "LOVELETTER" attachment that comes with the contaminated
  e-mail. 

  "It appears to be the same sort of class of virus as Melissa," the
  e-mail virus that overwhelmed computer systems around the
  world about a year ago, said Bill Pollack, spokesman for the CERT
Coordination Center in
  Pittsburgh, a government-chartered computer security team. 

  But the new virus, which uses the Outlook e-mail program from Microsoft to
spread, also may
  infect other types of files stored on desktop computers and network
servers, CERT reported on
  its telephone hotline. According to other reports, the virus may rename or
damage those files. 

  By midday Eastern time, a virus scanning system provided on the Internet
by the Trend Micro
  computer security company had already detected more than 500,000 infected
computer files
  around the world, including more than 350,000 in the United States. 

  In Britain, about 30 percent of company e-mail systems were brought down
by the virus,
  according to Network Associates, another computer security firm. In
Sweden, the tally was 80
  percent. 

  Much like Melissa, the "love bug" spreads by infiltrating a computer
user's address book and
  sending copies of itself to that person's contacts. However, the new virus
also seemed to be
  using instant messaging or "Internet chat" systems such as ICQ to spread,
Computer Associates
  reported. 

  The virus appeared in Hong Kong late in the afternoon, spreading
throughout e-mail systems
  once a user opened one of the contaminated messages. It later moved into
European
  parliamentary houses and through the high-tech systems of big companies
and financial traders. 

  "I have to tell you that, sadly, this affectionate greeting contains a
virus which has immobilized
  the House's internal communication system," said Margaret Beckett, leader
of Britain's House of
  Commons. "This means that no member can receive e-mails from outside, nor
indeed can we
  communicate with each other by e-mail." 

  In the United States, the "love bug" shut down the Florida Lottery Web
site and e-mail system,
  said lottery spokesman Leo DiBenigno. 

  In Asia, Dow Jones Newswires and the Asian Wall Street Journal were among
the victims. The
  bug affected only e-mail and did not prevent Dow Jones Newswires from
distributing financial
  information to traders. The Asian Wall Street Journal would have no
problems publishing,
  officials there said. 

  But the e-mail systems went wild. 

  "It crashed all the computers," said Daphne Ghesquiere, a Dow Jones
spokeswoman in Hong
  Kong. "You get the message and the topic says ILOVEYOU, and I was among
the stupid ones
  to open it. I got about five at one time and I was suspicious, but one was
from Dow Jones
  Newswires, so I opened it." 

  Once the message was opened, Ghesquiere said, it began sending the virus
to other e-mail
  addresses within the Dow Jones computers, blocking people's ability to
send and receive e-mail.
  Victims sometimes received dozens of e-mails, all contaminated. 

  "I have no idea how it got through the firewall," Ghesquiere said. "It's
supposed to be
  protected." 

  The virus posed its biggest threat to corporate users, because it
apparently had the ability to
  spread to the first 300 e-mail addresses in affected accounts, virus
expert Ross Wilson said. 

  "It's not pretty," said Wilson, the Singapore-based Southeast Asia
director of Symantec, a
  U.S.-based company that makes anti-virus software. "It's got the
capability of spreading very,
  very quickly." 

  In Denmark, the parliament, telecom company Tele Danmark, channel TV2 and
the
  Environment and Energy Ministry were all affected starting this morning. 

  "We have no clue how it got in," said Hugo Praestegaard of the Environment
and Energy
  Ministry. 

  The virus hit the Swiss federal government computer network late in the
morning, said Claudio
  Frigerio of the Federal Office for Information Technology in Bern. The
system was switched
  off immediately to stop the virus from spreading. 

  Bank, hospital and national television e-mail networks in Switzerland were
also affected, Frigerio
  said.