Holiday cushions love bug effects in Japan

Installation of anti-virus software during the holidays resulted in only 63,000 cases of infection reported.

TOKYO -- Japanese companies going back to work after the five-day Golden Week holiday have so far escaped major damage from the now infamous "ILOVEYOU" computer virus thanks to safety measures taken during the holiday.

Only 63,000 cases of infection were reported in Japan as of 9 a.m. Monday, according to Trend Micro Inc., an anti-virus software developer. First discovered Thursday, the so-called Love Bug, which is technically a "worm," is estimated to have crippled millions of computers worldwide. Japanese businesses were spared the worst because the virus hit during the holiday, officials at Trend Micro said.

Many firms heeded warnings from overseas and took precautionary measures during Golden Week. Awareness campaigns by vaccine software developers and countermeasures announced by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry are also apparently helping to minimize the damage. Mitsui & Co. instructed its worldwide offices to delete any e-mail with "ILOVEYOU" in the subject line.

On Sunday, the trading house also installed anti-virus software into its servers to destroy the bug. Softbank Corp., which uses e-mail extensively in its investment into overseas start-up companies, erased all infected e-mail attachments from its servers Friday and opened up for business Monday without a glitch.

Mitsubishi Electric Corp. installed vaccine software Saturday in its main intranet terminals. It also set up a "Virus Warning" message that appears immediately when any employee hooks up to the LAN. Damage at the company was containable, though it has been gathering detailed information on such damage, the firm's public relations department said.


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