ILOVEYOU virus is 10
Ten years ago yesterday, many of us unsuspectingly clicked an email attachment called ILOVEYOU. Quite why someone in senior management was sending romantically-themed email didn’t occur to us at the time. In those days, you saw, you clicked and the IT department stayed up all night trying to contain the ensuing chaos. Don’t remember it? Here’s a quick reminder:
What was it?
ILOVEYOU was a worm that infected ten of millions of PCs on May 4, 2000. It looked like a text file, but when you tried to open it, nothing happened. Or nothing seemed to happen. In fact, the hidden executable file set about destroying data and forwarding the email, plus attachment, to everyone in your address book.
Why should we remember it?
Before ILOVEYOU, most offices were fairly lax about IT security. But the speed and effectiveness with which the worm spread led to widespread panic. Editorials in the papers urged prudence to curb the dangers of double-click-happy office drones, and exhausted IT departments drafted memos of caution before collapsing on their keyboards.
Did it work?
Yes, in all sorts of ways. The guys who wrote it cost businesses over US$5billion, mostly in recovery work, and escaped punishment owing to a legal loophole. But they also did us a favour – blanket media coverage meant your granny knew not to open or forward unsolicited attachments, even if she didn’t know what an attachment was.
Also in 2000:
Gadget – PlayStation 2
The PS2 is the most popular games console of all time, and with good reason. It was pivotal to the development of some of gaming’s biggest franchises – Metal Gear Solid and Grand Theft Auto both came of age on it – and introduced us to God of War and Guitar Hero.
Movie – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Ang Lee beat everyone to the high-def punch with this slice of balletic martial arts genius. With not a cheesy one-liner in sight (we had MI:2 for that in the same year), it picked up four Oscars, universal admiration and a deserved place in the annals of cinematic history.
TV – Curb Your Enthusiasm
Although Larry David had done a one-off HBO special the year before, the offbeat sit-com based around the semi-fictional antics of the offbeat Seinfeld co-creator started in 2000. With plots that flit between the pedestrian to bizarre and a long-haul cast of stars, it’s no wonder it’s still going ten years on.
Music – Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP
He’d already made a splash with his debut album, The Slim Shady LP, but Eminem’s second venture was a more rounded collection of material as the man of many names demonstrated his trademark cutting wit, vocal prowess and production nous better than he had done before, or has done since.