Onel de Guzman, Inventor of the ILOVEYOU Virus
A young Filipino computer student made history by unleashing the world’s first global Internet-borne virus. Known as the Love Bug, the virus spread from East to West in a single day, inflicting $5.5 billion in damages, corrupting files, and shutting down computer systems at major corporations, newsrooms, Wall Street firms and government offices across the world, including the Pentagon and the CIA.
The worm arrived in people’s email boxes with a provocative subject line,
“I LOVE YOU: A love letter for you.” When recipients opened the attachment,“LOVE-LETTER-FOR-YOU.TXT.vbs,”
They unwittingly infected their own computer with the self-replicating worm as well as the computers of everyone in their contact list.
The author of the virus is believed to be Onel de Guzman, then 25, a student at AMA Computer University in Makati, the financial and commercial capital of the Philippines and, historically speaking, one of the cradles of the revolt against Spanish colonial rule.
He’s the student that created the “I love you” virus that caused 10 billions of dollars in damage worldwide. Love bug Virus is considered one of the most spectacular virus outbreaks in cyber history. It was supposedly a password-stealing thesis proposal(was rejected by his school).
What many people did not realize at the time was that de Guzman’s original intention for creating the worm was altruistic at its roots. In the Philippines, an hour’s worth of Internet access cost as much as half a day’s wage: 100 pesos, the equivalent of two dollars.
For his graduation thesis in computer science, de Guzman, the son of a fisherman, wrote a program that would enable the average Filipino to get free Internet access by stealing passwords from the rich. His school rejected his thesis because of its bandit nature, so he could not graduate. Undeterred, de Guzman, with the help of friends, unleashed his virus the day before the university held its graduation ceremony.