10 years ago today: The Love Bug computer worm

Love Bug 10th birthday
The Love Bug, also known as the ILOVEYOU worm, LoveLetter or VBS/LoveLet, spread itself ten years ago today via email using the subject line “ILOVEYOU” and the message body “Kindly check the attached LOVELETTER coming from me”.

It was an inspired piece of social engineering and flooded email systems around the world, as users were either tricked into believing they were receiving a romantic note, or believed it was something funny coming from their bosses or colleagues.

Even if English wasn’t your native language you would probably open the email. After all, “I Love You” are probably amongst the most recognised words in the English language.

Unfortunately for all those computer users, opening the attached file, called LOVELETTER.TXT.VBS, didn’t display an unsolicited love letter but instead activated a malicious worm, spreading it to their other email contacts.

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I wrote at length last year, on the ninth anniversary of the Love Bug, about my memories of that day in May 2000, and how the author of one of the biggest worms of all time escaped justice.

Read Memories of the Love Bug worm.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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