Information Security: "I LOVE YOU" Computer Virus Emphasizes Critical Need for Agency and Governmentwide Improvements
GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON DC ACCOUNTING AND INFORMATION MANAGEMENT DIV
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ILOVEYOU is both a virus and worm. Worms propagate themselves through networks viruses destroy files and replicate themselves by manipulating files. The damage resulting from this particular hybrid- which includes overwhelmed e-mail systems and lost files-is limited to users of the Microsoft Windows operating system. ILOVEYOU typically comes in the form of an e-mail message from someone the recipient knows with an attachment called LOVE-LETTER-FOR-YOU.TXT.VBS. The attachment is a Visual Basic Script VBS file.2 As long as recipients do not run the attached file, their systems will not be affected and they need only to delete the e-mail and its attachment. When opened and allowed to run, however, ILOVEYOU attempts to send copies of itself using Microsoft Outlook an electronic mail software program to all entries in all of the recipients address books, infect the Internet Relay Chat IRC program so that the next time a user starts chatting on the Internet, the worm can spread to everyone who connects to the chat server, search for picture, video, and music files and overwrite or replace them with a copy of itself, and install a password-stealing program that will become active when the recipient opens Internet Explorer and reboots the computer. Internet accounts set up to collect this information were reportedly disabled early Friday. In short, ILOVEYOU looks a lot like Melissa in operation it comes via e-mail it attacks Microsofts Outlook its a hybrid between a worm and a virus and it does some damage-but it mostly excels at using the infected system to e-mail copies of itself to others. The one main difference is that it proliferated much faster than Melissa because it came during the work week, not the weekend. Moreover, ILOVEYOU sent itself to everyone on the recipients e-mail lists, rather than just the first 50 addressees as Melissa did.
- Computer Systems Management and Standards