that ILOVEYOU virus thingie
Sunday, May 7 2000
I must confess that among my many recent sellouts was a switch to Microsoft Outlook as my mail client of choice. Microsoft didn't conquer my computer without a fight, mind you, but when Netscape started crashing every time I did anything with it, I had to abandon both my email software and my browser of choice. After making the leap to Internet Explorer and Outlook I haven't really had any serious regrets.
Indeed, I wasn't among the millions of Outlook users affected when the ILOVEYOU virus swept the global internet in a way that would have vindicated the apocalyptic pessimists had it occurred on January 1st. But, in retrospect, it's fun to think what it would have been like to receive a copy from someone across the local intranet. Just imagine sitting there and suddenly there it is, an email with the subject line "ILOVEYOU" from Thelma, the cute and slightly unfashionable QA intern. You're confused at first and look over at her cubicle to see if she's looking at you. She's not. She's staring intensely at her screen with her mouth slightly ajar. She's playing coy. And you're not psychologically prepared to read what she's written. You stumble lightly across the office past similarly-confused and giddy co-workers, none of them prepared to deal with the sudden possibilities dumped into their email boxes.
Armed with a double-sweetened cup of coffee, you return to your desk, take a deep breath, and read the email. Hey, she's more coy than you suspected! Her love letter is in the form of a .TXT attachment with a mysterious icon. You double click and blammo! Your entire addressbook gets emailed copies of the ILOVEYOU virus. A cry goes up in the room and your email box starts filling with crosstalk with the subject line VIRUSALERT!! The scene repeats itself endlessly across the internet, traveling at the speed of light down fiber optic cables.
Of course, some people are a little more cautious and don't have idiotic Microsoft defaults enabled, like the one that shields people from the cerebral overload of seeing the three character file name extensions that tell us the difference between an executeable Visual Basic Script file and a harmless text love letter.
kindly check the attached LOVE LETTER coming from me.
filename="LOVE-LETTE R-FOR-YO U.TXT.vbs"
Original attachment (LOVE-LETTE R-FOR-YO U.TXT.vbs) was Deleted. A virus=
was detected and removed from the original attachment. You can safely s=
ave or delete this replacement
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