Love Bug Virus Charges Reportedly Dropped

Philippines officials on Monday dropped all charges against the student suspected of releasing the "ILOVEYOU" computer virus that infected e-mail servers worldwide and caused billions of dollars of damage in May, according to a report.

The Associated Press reported that the charges against Onel de Guzman, 23, were dropped for lack of evidence and also because the charges filed against Guzman by the National Bureau of Investigation were not related specifically to computer hacking.

The former student from Amable Mendoza Aguiluz Computer College in Manila was charged on June 29 with theft under a Philippines law that traditionally covers credit card fraud and faced a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. [See "Charges Filed Against 'Love Bug' Student," June 29.] The Justice Department in Manila could not be reached for comment.

Only after Guzman's alleged crime did Philippine lawmakers pass a new law to cover Internet crime, and the law, enacted in mid-June, cannot be applied retroactively against Guzman.

The "ILOVEYOU" computer virus was released on May 4 and quickly crippled e-mail servers around the globe. Estimates by research analysts peg financial damages caused by the "ILOVEYOU" virus at $US8.7 billion.

The bug was sent to approximately 84 million users, and 2.5 million to 3 million were actually affected.

The Justice Department, in Manila, can be contacted at +63-2-523-8481.

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