Don't let 'Love' bug bite on Valentine's Day

An anti-virus vendor warns that the "Love" bug, which caused so much disaster for Internet users in May of last year, could cause more heartbreak by coming back to life again this Valentine's day.

An anti-virus vendor warns that the "Love" bug, which caused so much disaster for Internet users in May of last year, could cause more heartbreak by coming back to life again this Valentine's day.

A survey from anti-virus vendor MessageLabs indicates that more than a third of business e-mail users across the UK would still open such a message on Feb. 14, despite the notoriety attained by the e-mail worm, which is estimated to have wreaked £4.8bn(U.S. $7 billion) worth of damage worldwide.

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MessageLab's research indicates that Internet users remain vulnerable to computer viruses and worms designed to appeal to their sense of curiosity. It found that 54 percent would open an e-mail entitled "Great Joke," 50 percent "Look at this," 46 percent "Re. Message," 40 percent "No title" and 39 percent "special offer".

"We've seen the numbers of viruses detected in emails rise sharply over the last year," said Mark Sunner, chief technology officer at MessageLabs in a release. "The report goes to prove that on a day such as St. Valentine's email users are vulnerable to unusual e-mail, which creates an opportunity for virus writers."

"11 percent of the people surveyed had received the 'Love' bug last year, that on its own is an astonishing number from the sample. But despite all the press attention over the last year it would appear that three times that amount would open it this year," commented Alistair Kelman, an Internet Barrister at the London School of Economics.

"The results are very worrying at a time when the threat of computer viruses is rising."