Yesterday was the tenth anniversary of the Loveletter (ILOVEYOU) worm. This was the first real virus/worm that I ever experienced that actually took down a mail server. It was also an early, widespread, damaging worm. At the time, I was in my colleague’s office (he was the network guy), and he got an email. He looked at me and said “Why would Gary send me a message saying ‘I Love You’”? A few seconds and 5 similar messages later it dawned on him what was going on, he ran down the hall to the server room and hard-powered off the Exchange Server. Later we determined only 79 accounts got the email before he stopped it. It still took two days to get the mess cleaned up.
What really struck me about this was the code of the worm. I was doing classic ASP programming at the time, so I was pretty conversant with VBScript. I printed it off the code to check it out (see a description of what the code does). I was really struck by the fact that I understood what they were doing, and it didn’t even seem that hard. It was a real watershed moment for me as a developer, I had reached a point of understanding with that technology; it validated my progress as a developer.