For the most part, the snowboard industry was able to avoid the “ILOVEYOU” computer virus that swept around the world last week surprising millions of unsuspecting users. However the virus did affect some, including Burton.
A number of employees at companies such as Northwave, Vans, and the California retailer Any Mountain, received the e-mail, dubbed the “Love Bug,” but they had already been instructed to not open the VisualBasic script (.vbs) attachment by the time it had reached their desktops.
Northwave Marketing Communications Manager Cindy Lum says that no one in her department got the e-mail — the entire department uses Macs, which were unaffected because the virus was transmitted through PC software. Some departments in the Seattle, Washington offices run PCs, however, but Lum says everyone knew not to open any attached file. “We’ve sort of got a bubble around us,” jokes Lum. “You know, Seattle, Microsoft.”
Retailer Any Mountain, based in Corte Madera, California, also uses Macs and avoided the “ILOVEYOU” virus as well. But just to make sure, Any Mountain Marketing Manager Ana Spooner says the twelve-store chain shut down its corporate e-mail system for three days and barred all messages with attachments.
Since the virus generally spread from East to West around the globe, location played a factor. By the time West Coast workers arrived at the office Thursday, May 4, most had already heard about the bug. Vans Marketing Manager Melissa Murphy says the company’s IT (information technology) crew was on it well before employees had a chance to open any tainted files. “Our IT department sent us all warnings about it “ILOVEYOU”,” says Murphy.
The staff at Burton Snowboards in Burlington, Vermont didn’t receive fair warning, however. According to Burton Public Relations Associate Scott Rivers, five unsuspecting employees opened the attached file early Thursday morning (May 4). “It “ILOVEYOU” just flooded our system,” says Rivers. “We were getting 200 e-mails an hour.” The virus forced the company to shut down its e-mail network for two days to give information systems time to clean out the system and run the anti-virus software.
Rivers says the virus was just a nuisance and not a financial disaster: “It hit us, but not like you see in the news. We lost a few JPEGS and files, but we have backups.”
CNN reports the virus, which allegedly originated from a personal computer in Manila, Philippines, flogged U.S. government agencies, the Senate, and more than 100,000 servers in Europe.
The virus manipulates multimedia files like JPEGs and MP3s and then transmits itself through e-mail using Microsoft Outlook’s address book. “ILOVEYOU” and its many variants affect only Windows 98 and NT operating systems.
Software damage and lost commerce estimates are estimated at five- billion dollars, and could reach ten-billion dollars before the viruses are eradicated, CNN reports.