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Love Bug author says bug created in cyber gang war

February 5, 2001 

The suspected author of the Love Bug computer virus has re-emerged as a security pundit.

Onel de Guzman, who faced charges relating to spreading the Love Bug in the Philippines before they were dropped for insufficient evidence, has taken time out to talk to a reporter at the Chicago Tribune "over a cup of coffee at the Old Manila Cafe" about the nature of virus writing.

The Love Bug spread like wildfire last May causing an estimated $10 billion damage, largely in lost productivity, as it brought down email servers worldwide.

De Guzman - the prime suspect in the case - was detained under a law relating to gaining passwords to defraud banks and credit cards, largely because of lack of a specific Philippines law covering computer crime. He was later released without charge.

During the interview de Guzman, who has been lying low since his release, admitted he did write, or as he put it "cook", the Love Bug virus, but he still continues to deny releasing the virus.

Much of the rest of the Tribune piece documents a mixture of braggadocio and posturing from de Guzman, or "The Terminator", as he tells the Tribune he's nicknamed. He suggests the Love Bug was released during a war between local cyber gangs that went wrong, something security experts insist is "cobblers", and possibly an attempt by de Guzman to duck any blame for the spread of the virus, if the authorities, in the Philippines or elsewhere, file further charges.

He also states that you don't need to be a genius to write a virus, about the only thing we're in complete agreement with de Guzman about.

However the piece contains a star-quote from Nataniel Cuasay, a graduate student at AMA Computer College, where de Guzman himself studied.

Cuasay or the "Wizard" told the Chicago Tribune: "Hackers create viruses to knock out the opposition. It's a war game. It's fun. It's better than sex."

No lads, it's not - and you really, really need to get out more

© 2001, John Leyden, The Register

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