Love Bug Virus Costs Expected to Reach US$10B

BOSTON (05/08/2000) - A research company tracking the global effects of the ILOVEYOU, or Love Bug, virus, expects economic damages to reach at least US$10 billion before the virus and its variants are eradicated.

Computer Economics Inc., based in Carlsbad, California, today said that estimated damages hit $4.74 billion in the four days since the ILOVEYOU virus -- which actually is a type of software script typically known as a "worm" -- started sweeping the globe. That figure does not yet take into account "what might have been done over the weekend by the deviants of the world" who might have written yet more variants to the worm, said Samir Bhavnani, a research analyst at Computer Economics.

The company has interviewed people globally to assess the extent of damages, talking to representatives at companies that were hit by the worm as well as keeping in touch with major antivirus vendors who also are tracking the bug, he said.

In their estimates of damages, researchers are considering those who faced "casual delays" owing to the worm, which amounts to individual users having to spend time deleting copies of it, and those experiencing "significant delays," which includes having to shut down servers completely for any length of time.

Thus far, Computer Economics estimates that 78 million people globally have been sent at least one copy of the virus, which is spread by e-mail.

U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno is addressing the issue of worldwide computer security in a press conference in Washington, D.C., which was scheduled to start at 12:30 EDT.

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