BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Sci/Tech
Front Page 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

The BBC's Ali Willis
"The police can only hold suspects for 36 hours"
 real 28k

The BBC's John Mclean in Manila
"The theory is the student wrote the virus to avenge his failure at computer school"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 10 May, 2000, 14:47 GMT 15:47 UK
Love Bug revenge theory
Computers, Philippines
The virus crippled computers worldwide
A Filipino computer student who wrote a thesis on stealing passwords from the internet is being sought in connection with the Love Bug virus.

The student, identified as Onel de Guzman, 23, dropped out of college after his tutors rejected his software program, saying they did not condone theft.
Mr de Guzman
Mr de Guzman wrote a similar programme

Mr de Guzman lived in the apartment where the computer thought to be the source of the bug was kept.

The idea outlined in his thesis bears a striking similarity to the Love Bug virus which has caused havoc around the world since it appeared last week.

The BBC correspondent in Manila, John McLean, says there is a theory that Mr de Guzman could have unleashed the virus in revenge.

The bug, which spread via an e-mail bearing the line "ILOVEYOU", is believed to have affected at least 45 million computer users and caused billions of dollars of damage.


The Philippines National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) confirmed Mr de Guzman was one of several suspects wanted for questioning.

"His background is suspicious and his thesis was questionable because what he proposed was illegal," NBI deputy director Carlos Caabay said.

Mr de Guzman, a former student at the AMA Computer College in Manila, lived with Reonel Ramones who was arrested on Monday after a raid on their apartment.

He is said to be the brother of Reonel Ramones' girlfriend Irene de Guzman who lived in the same flat and is also wanted for questioning.

Investigators had pinpointed a computer at the apartment as the source of the bug. They seized a telephone, wiring and computer magazines, but no computer.


In his thesis, Mr de Guzman said his software would "be helpful to a lot of people, especially internet users, to get Windows passwords" and spend more time on the internet without paying.

"We spend a lots of money to pay [for internet] accounts for only using a couple of hours," he wrote.
Tackling the virus
Do not open it
Delete it using shift del
As with all e-mails, if in doubt do not run any attachments you are not expecting
If you have run the attachment, isolate your machine from any network and phone your help desk or seek expert advice
Remember to keep your anti-virus software up-to-date and be vigilant about attachments

"So this program is the main solution. Use it to steal and retrieve internet accounts of the victim's computer."

But the thesis was rejected on 24 February. A college official noted: "This is illegal... We do not produce burglars."

AMA says Mr de Guzman dropped out after his paper was turned down.

Manuel Abad, executive vice president at AMA, said Mr de Guzman was a member of an underground computer group which provided programming to small businesses and wrote and sold thesis projects to computer students.


FBI officials, who are helping the NBI, are said to have found 10 coded names embedded in the virus.
Love Bug
The bug could cause up to $10bn damage

But the names could be pseudonyms of a single person or just a few people.

Experts say the Love Bug virus is likely to engender more variants in the coming weeks.

It affects only systems running Microsoft Windows with Windows Scripting Host enabled. Computers using Apple's operating system or Linux are not affected.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

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
06 May 00 | Sci/Tech
Why write computer viruses?
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Sci/Tech stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Sci/Tech stories