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Love bug strikes newspaper offices

A computer virus, which paralysed computer networks across the world, provided copy for the regional press – but few real problems.

Warnings about the “ILOVEYOU” virus were sent to newsrooms by many of their own IT departments soon after work started yesterday.

As a result, most reporters who received an e-mail called “ILOVEYOU” were able to delete it safely.

Nigel Pickover, editor of the Ipswich Evening Star – part of Eastern Counties Newspaper Group, said: “We have not been affected – we flashed the alert on all five of our websites as soon as the story came through.”

The e-mail carried a message saying “Kindly check the attached love letter from me!” and a file was attached called “LOVE-LETTER-FOR-YOU”.

If the file was opened, the virus was activated, and the message would be sent to everyone in the user’s address book.

Within the Northcliffe regional newspaper group, staff at its newspapers throughout the UK were kept busy all day deleting the e-mails which appeared to have been sent by their colleagues.

One reporter in Aberdeen commented: “I have to say that I never realised so many people in the group loved me, but apart from that it’s a damn pest.”

The virus, thought to have originated in the Philippines capital of Manila, caused damage estimated at millions of pounds in the UK alone.

Financial markets in Asia were hit with the Dow Jones Newswires and the Asian Wall Street Journal among the victims.

In the UK, the House of Commons was among organisations who shut down their entire communications systems.

The Gloucester Citizen found a local expert with an angle on the love virus. To read its story, by journalist Annelisa Macaulay-Lowe, click here

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