Vast numbers of users yesterday were doubtless disappointed to find that not only did they not have a secret admirer, but they had caught viruses in trying to open their "love letters." A new destructive worm swept computers around the world on Thursday, infecting systems in the Pentagon, the CIA, Parliament, and Ford Motor Company, to name just a few. Like the Melissa virus and so many of its other predecessors, the ILoveYou Worm comes most often in the form of an email attachment entitled, in its initial incarnation, "LOVE-LETTER-FOR-YOU.TXT.vbs." Today, several imitators have been spawned with names such as "Mother's Day Order Confirmation," "fwd: Joke," and "Very Funny." Of course, there's nothing funny about the virus, a Visual Basic script that, when it executes, replaces certain files (.jpeg, .mp3, and others) with copies of itself, and sends copies of itself to others via mIRC and Microsoft Outlook. Costs to clean up the damage the worm has caused are estimated in the billions, making it the most expensive computer virus yet.
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