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03 May 2001

Love Bug one year on - no lessons learnt, says Sophos Anti-Virus

The Love Bug worm pretended to be a love letter.

Friday, 4th May will mark the first anniversary of the infamous Love Bug computer virus, yet users are still falling for virus-writers' tricks, according to Sophos Anti-Virus. The Love Bug was one of the first viruses to successfully manipulate human nature in order to facilitate its spread. By claiming to be a love letter the virus pulled on our heartstrings and aroused our curiosity, tempting thousands of users into double-clicking on the attachment and launching the virus.

Despite the damage caused by the virus and the media attention it generated, it seems that many computer users are continuing to make the same mistakes.

"Since the Love Bug we have seen high profile infections by the likes of Anna Kournikova and the Naked Wife worm, both of which headed straight for the groin - and hit target," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos Anti-Virus. "It's pretty frustrating to see users being duped by the same old ruse time and time again, especially when you consider that a combination of safe computing practice and common sense could easily prevent these types of virus from spreading."

In order to drastically reduce the chances of infection, Sophos advises all users to follow safe computing guidelines.

  • Users should not open, run or download any unsolicited executable files (files with - for instance - EXE or VBS extensions).
  • Any unexpected emails should be treated with suspicion, even if that means calling the person who sent it to check.
  • Be wary of downloading executables or documents from the internet, as these can often harbour computer viruses.
  • Be suspicious of any file with a double extension, such as sexy69.mpg.exe, love-letter-for-you.txt.vbs or annakournikova.jpg.vbs as it may be hiding its true nature.

About Sophos

More than 100 million users in 150 countries rely on Sophos as the best protection against complex threats and data loss. Sophos is committed to providing complete security solutions that are simple to deploy, manage, and use and that deliver the industry's lowest total cost of ownership. Sophos offers award-winning encryption, endpoint security, web, email, mobile and network security solutions backed by SophosLabs - a global network of threat intelligence centers.

Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at