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Monday, 21 August, 2000, 15:07 GMT 16:07 UK
Love Bug charges dropped
Computers, Philippines
The virus crippled 45 million computers worldwide
Philippine prosecutors say they have dropped all charges against the former computer student suspected of unleashing the so-called Love Bug virus earlier this year.

In June investigators said they had hoped to charge 24-year-old Onel de Guzman under laws that normally cover credit card fraud.

De Guzman
Mr de Guzman admits he may have accidentally released the virus
But on Monday the Department of Justice announced that the charges filed against Mr de Guzman either did not apply to cases of computer hacking, or there was insufficient evidence to back them up.

The virus, attached to an email with the subject line "ILOVEYOU", caused billions of dollars damage when it crippled at least 45 million computers worldwide on 4 May.

Networks at the Pentagon in the United States and in the UK Parliament were among those brought to a halt by the bug.

Love Bug virus
The "ILOVEYOU" title of the love bug made it tempting to open
Shortly afterwards Mr de Guzman admitted that he may have accidentally released the virus, although he refused to either confirm or deny that he was the bug's author.

In June, President Joseph Estrada signed a new law covering electronic commerce and computer hacking, but it cannot be applied retrospectively to the Love Bug case.

Professors at Manila's AMA Computer College rejected Mr de Guzman's thesis proposal for a programme that steals internet passwords - a key feature of the Love Bug virus.

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See also:

10 May 00 | Sci/Tech
Love Bug revenge theory
09 May 00 | Sci/Tech
Police hunt Love Bug gang
10 May 00 | Sci/Tech
Warning of more internet attacks
09 May 00 | Americas
Defending cyberspace
04 May 00 | UK
'Love Bug' bites UK hard
15 Nov 99 | Sci/Tech
E-mail security bubble bursts
30 Mar 99 | Sci/Tech
Melissa virus goes global
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