When it comes to malware, viruses are the ancestors on the block. While most people can rattle off names like ‘Trojan’, ‘viruses’, and ‘spyware’ etc, they’re often not too familiar with their causes and remedies.
Computers & mobile devices though not biotic like you & me, can get sick from virus proliferation. A computer virus, much like a flu virus, is designed to replicate itself & wreck havoc. A flu virus cannot reproduce without a host cell. In the same way a computer viruses cannot reproduce & spread without programming script embedded in a file or a document.
Instead of sniffles and a fever, some common symptoms of a computer viral infection are slow performance, data loss and system crashes. All of these can make people using the machine feel ill as well.
What is ILOVEYOU virus?
While ILOVEYOU sounds like a cheerful bon mot often found printed on the inside of a Valentine’s Day card, it is far more baleful than that. ILOVEYOU is one of the most renowned destructive viruses of all time.
It has been almost 18 years since ILOVEYOU was let loose on the internet. Though today it’s a pretty tame virus, during the period of its birth in 2000 it was the most menacing malware of all time. Likely, ILOVEYOU inspired hackers to wield emails as a weapon to disseminate malicious computer programs.
If you receive an email today like the one that was sent in 2000, we recommend you to never open it. The ILOVEYOU virus sometimes referred to as Love Bug or Love Letter came in an email with a subject line that said I love you.
The malware was triggered by clicking on the email attachment that read as LOVE-LETTER-FOR-YOU.TXT.vbs’. The latter file extension vbs, acronym for Visual Basic Script was most often hidden by default on Windows computers of the time, causing unwitting users to believe it was a normal text file.
Curious users even after being aware of the fact that the email wasn’t from a known person often clicked on the attachment with aplomb.
ILOVEYOU virus- Threat Behavior
Opening the attachment activated the Visual Basic Script. The malicious program overwrote system files & personal files that include:
- Office files
- Image files
- Audio files
However, after overwriting MP3 files, the virus would hide the file. Users who didn’t have the backup copies of the infected files lost them.
In order to rapidly proliferate to infect maximum systems, the malevolent ILOVEYOU virus was scripted to distribute its copy by sending emails to all the addresses in the Windows Address Book used by Microsoft Outlook.
ILOVEYOU virus soon hit the headlines around the world but that only made this fatal virus more powerful. Inquisitive users keen to discover if it really was as bad as it was supposed to be, poked the bear with a stick.
Two young Filipino computer programmers named Reonel Ramones and Onel de Guzman were suspected for programming the virus. However, they were soon set free as there was no law against writing malware.
The effectiveness of the virus soon gained it the Guinness World Record as the most ‘virulent’ virus of all time.
If your system falls prey to this treacherous virus infection, follow the virus removal guidelines to get rid of it.
How to Remove ILOVEYOU Virus from the system?
STEP A: Remove the malicious program from Control Panel
- Click on the “Start” button on the bottom left corner of your screen. A Start menu will be displayed as shown below. From this menu select the option that reads “Control Panel”.
- In the window that will be displayed, click the option “Switch to classic view”.
- This will display all the options/icons available to you. From the displayed icons, click on the icon that reads “Add or Remove Programs”.
- Select the “Uninstall a program” option from the “Programs” category. A list will populate on the screen displaying all the programs.
- Select the programs related to ILoveYou virus and click on the Uninstall button.
- Right click on the “Start” button located at the lower left corner of the screen. From the Start menu, click on “Control Panel”.
- The “Control Panel” Window will be displayed on the screen. Click on “Uninstall a Program” option from the “Programs” category.
- The “Programs and Features” window will be displayed on the screen. A list will populate on the screen displaying all the programs.
- Scroll though the list of programs and select the programs related to ILoveYou virus and then click on the “Uninstall” button.
- Right click on the “Windows logo” on the lower left side of the computer screen. From the drop down menu, select and click on “Control Panel”.
- The “Control Panel” window will be displayed. From this window select “Uninstall a program” option form the “Programs” category.
- A list will populate on the screen displaying all the programs.
- Select the programs related to ILoveYou virus and click on the “Uninstall” button.
- In the confirmation box, click on the box that reads “OK” to save changes.
STEP B: Show Hidden Files and Folders
- Left click on the Organize button on the Windows Explorer. A drop down menu will appear.
- On this menu left click on the option that reads “Folder and search options” as shown above. A folder options dialogue box will appear.
- On the View tab under the Advanced settings, Check the option that reads “Show hidden files, folders, and drives” and uncheck the option that reads “Hide protected operating system files“.
- Click on the “OK” button to save your changes. This will make all the hidden files and folders visible to you.
Windows 8 and 10
- On the file explorer toolbar, click on the View
- In the Show/hide section, Click on the “Hidden items” checkbox.
- Click on the options button.
- Under folder options, click on the “View” tab.
- Uncheck the “Hide protected operating system files” option.
- Click the “OK” button to save your changes.
Step C: Remove ILOVEYOU VIRUS from System Configurations settings
- Type “Msconfig” in search box / Run Box, select it and press Enter.
- Click on “Services” Tab and click on “Hide all Microsoft services”.
- Select ILoveYou virus from the list of remaining services and disable it by removing the tick mark from the checkbox and click on Apply button.
- Click on the next tab – “Startup”.
- Find any blank or suspicious entry or the entry with ILoveYou virus mentioned and remove the check mark.
- Click on Apply button and then click on OK.
- Click on the next tab – “Startup”.
- Take the mouse cursor to ‘Open task Manager‘ link and click on it. This opens the Task Manager window.
- Find any blank or suspicious entry or the entry with ILoveYou virus mentioned and click on it.
- Then click on Disable button.
STEP D: Delete the suspicious file from the Registry Key
- Type “Regedit” in search box / Run Box, select it and press Enter.
- An authorization dialog box will appear, then you just have to click “Yes”. (The dialog box appearance may vary depending on OS used. For Windows 10 the the dialog box looks like the first screenshot and for windows 7 it appears like the second screenshot)
- In the registry editor, take the backup of the current registry settings before making any changes in case you want to revert to old settings later. For this, Click on File option in the menu and select Export. Save the entry at a known location.
- From the Menu, Click Edit and Select Find.
- Enter ILoveYou virus and click OK in the search box.
- Select and delete suspicious entries.
Tips to prevent your computer system from getting infected –
- Keeping the Operating System Updated- In order to remain protected and avoid such infections, it is recommended to keep your Operating System updated by enabling the automatic update on your system. The systems with outdated or older versions of Operating System become an easy target for the attackers.
- Resist clicking on spam emails – One of the major techniques used for malware distribution is forwarding spam emails to the user. The system gets infected as soon as the user clicks on the attachment. These mails appear to be genuine, so be aware and resist falling for these tricks.
- Keep an eye on third party installations- It is quite important that you take due care while installing any third party applications for they are major source of such infections. Such malware programs come bundled with the free applications thereby requiring the user to remain cautious.
- Regular periodical backup- In order to keep your data and files safe, it is recommended to take regular back up of all your data and files either on an external drive or cloud.
- Use Anti-Virus Protection- We strongly recommend the use of antivirus protection/internet security in your PC like Kaspersky Labs Inc and Avira so that it remains safe.
- Enable the Ad Blocker/Popup Blocker in your browser- Enabling the popup blocker/ ad blocker in your chosen browser will help you to stay protected from annoying adware.