Virgin Islands Internet users were finding a warning posted on the home pages of their servers Monday about the "love bug" computer virus.
Technicians working for three of the major Internet service providers in the territory were unwilling to say that they had heard of any problems from their subscribers as a result of the mysterious e-mail that shows up in in-boxes as "ILOVEYOU." However, one local resident described his encounter.
Broadcaster Alex Randall, the "Good News Guy" of WSTA, said he was checking his e- mail at the radio station on Thursday morning and found a message from abroad. "I consider myself a relatively computer-savvy person, with close to 20 years experience," Randall said. "I got an e-mail from an old friend that I thought was sending me a love letter."
Within 20 minutes after he opened the LOVELETTER attachment, Randall said, his hard drive began working at a furious pace. A few minutes later, he said, he found his photo files had been wiped out.
Meantime, local Internet technicians say, some local copycat activity is in evidence. Love bug-like viruses are showing up in the guise of the popular pass-around jokes labeled "Funny" or "Funny Joke." Bernard Ottley Jr., a VI PowerNet support technician, said one of the latest copycat viruses comes through the e-mail labeled "Happy Mother's Day."
Brandon Hatcher at VIAccess advised Internet users not to open any suspicious electronic mail. "Just delete it," he said. If such messages continue showing up in your mailbox, he said, you should identify the source and order an electronic block against any subsequent mail from that sender.
Hotmail, for example, has a category you can click that says "do not accept any more mail from this source." Call your server for instructions if you do not have the information on your home page.
Cyber-researchers said last week that the love bug had infected some 600,000 computers worldwide, even as anti-virus software manufacturers were rushing out inoculations. A California research company, Computer Economics Inc., said 45 million people received the infected e-mail on Thursday.
The ultimate advice for the wary: If you think something you've gotten in the e-mail is a safe message from a friend but aren't sure, download it onto a floppy disk, not onto your hard drive.
VIRUS COPYCATS ARE ABOUT; DELETE IF IN DOUBT
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