Love still bugging companies worldwide

Antivirus software vendors are divided over the seriousness of the I Love You virus to Australia, thereby confusing the marketplace with mixed messages.

The Love Bug first infected computers worldwide in early May, causing corporates to shut down their email systems.

Despite the introduction of new viruses and a security clamp down, Trend Micro still ranks the Love Bug as corporate Australia's number-one headache, based on its virus-watch service findings this week.

In the last 30 days, the Love Bug has infected 13,000 files in Australia, 95,000 in Europe and 300,000 in Asia, according to Trend Micro.

"The Love Bug is still the nuisance bug," insisted Andy Liou, a Trend Micro marketing manager.

However, Nick Engleman, Computer Associates' business development manager for security, had a different view: "I Love You is dropping off the radar screen," he said. "It'll get knocked off by the (VBS) 'stages' virus."

Engleman also questioned the validity of recent estimates that the Love Bug cost businesses worldwide $US6.7 billion in downtime, bad PR, and lost business.

He recommended that companies be more vigilant against this week's multi-application "stages" worm.

"We're definitely seeing a wave of VBS viruses this week," he said. "Corporates are taking it seriously."

Engleman added that the real concern for businesses is not viruses themselves, but the existence of "late adopters" that are slow to implement virus-scanning technology.

However, Liou had more faith in the level of virus awareness among local business. "Large businesses are on the ball," he said. "They've been proactive in these areas. They know what it's like to clean 20,000 machines."

Engleman down-played Trend Micro's reports this week of I Love You's worldwide proliferation, despite its ongoing high-risk status. "I'd be extremely surprised if companies in general were still in clean-up mode," he mused.

Australia had grown more astute regarding computer bugs, due to an active media education campaign around virus alerts, he added.

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