Journalists from the BBC found the author of the first computer virus – he repairs phones in Manila. In 2000, his program infected millions of devices around the world.
On May 4, 2000, several users received emails with an attached file called “LOVE-LETTER-FOR-YOU”. They contained malicious code that overwrites files, stole passwords, and automatically sent copies of themselves to all Microsoft Outlook contacts in the victim’s address book.
Journalists of the BBC found the author of the virus – Filipino Onela de Guzmana. He is 44 years old, he says that he created a computer virus in order to steal passwords and receive free Internet access. The man claims that he never sought to global distribution of the program. Guzman said he regrets the global damage that his code inflicted.
In 2000, within 24 hours, the virus caused serious problems worldwide – it affected approximately 45 million cars. The program overloaded organizational mail systems, and some IT managers shut down part of the infrastructure to prevent infection. This led to the fact that, according to experts, the damage amounted to billions of pounds.
“I did not expect the virus to reach the United States and Europe, this is amazing,” he said in an interview with Crime Dot Com, which is preparing a book on cybercrime. The publication notes that he was a member of the underground hacker group Grammersoft and quickly became the main suspect in the police investigation.
However, at that time the Philippines did not have a law on hacking computers and viruses, so Guzman and his comrades were not prosecuted. Co-authors of the virus, for example, fellow de Guzmán, Michael Buen, were also not prosecuted.
A BBC journalist found Guzman in a shopping center, where employees of other stores told him that a former hacker was working on the repair of mobile phones. The author of the publication found him at work “in a dirty booth at the very end of the shopping center”, where he interviewed him.