It was also helped on its way by being written to target the ubiquitous Microsoft Outlook e-mail client. "Software standardization is a fertile breeding ground for viruses," said Lev Grossman of TIME Digital. "Writing a virus for one e-mail client can affect every company using that client." Once the virus has established itself on a host computer, it quickly destroys all music and image files and disables the e-mail system, causing irreparable damage at some companies. One European magazine lost its entire picture archive for the past two years. Other companies have had servers crash and data destroyed.
Computer security experts believe the virus will be under control by Monday, but ILOVEYOU has already caused more damage than last year's Melissa virus, which spurred many companies to invest in costly and complex computer security measures. The fact that ILOVEYOU was seemingly unaffected by most companies' front-line defenses should serve as a wake-up call to businesses that in the ever-mutating world of computer viruses, security software must constantly be updated with the latest technology. "Companies that receive daily updates of good anti-virus software could nip this thing in the bud," Grossman says. Of course, the best defense, he adds, is informed users who know not to open strange attachments or unsolicited love letters from their colleagues.