But this ainít Y2K, either. The Melissa virus affected 19 percent of U.S. corporations; Taylor doubts Explore.Zip will come anywhere near that. "Itís not nearly as infectious," Taylor says. "Of course, those that it hits, it hits much harder. Still, itís just a matter of shutting down the network and deleting the virus, computer by computer," he says, and that didnít take long even for big dominoes like Microsoft (down a few hours) or Boeing (a few days). As for the perpetrator, all we know is that heís an expert programmer who knows long-dead language Delphi. And that heís worked in a corporation long enough to know that no matter how strange the message or how monstrous the file (206K), somebodyís always gonna fall for it.
The FBI has no leads yet as to who might have created the Worm.Explore.Zip virus, but the betting here is that heís a disgruntled 9-to-5er. After nearly dropping off the charts this weekend, the worm that burns roared back for the workweek, spreading like wildfire over office networks, infecting everyone connected even if only one schnook makes a wrong click. "All it takes is one person to make that mistake," says TIME technology writer Chris Taylor, "and everybody else loses all their Word, Excel and PowerPoint files Ė- irretrievably."