Here's how some agencies responded to the 'ILOVEYOU' virus on Thursday, May
Agriculture: William Hadesty, USDA's assistant CIO for security, said
the ILOVEYOU virus hit parts of the agency early in the day. "It got into
the system. It did not impact our operations," Hadesty said. "We learned
a lot of lessons from Melissa [a similar virus]."
Hadesty said USDA put an emergency system in place by 8 a.m. to deal
with the virus and got an antivirus download from Symantec Corp. to prevent
the spread of the virus. However, he said it is too early to say how many
USDA sites were affected or whether it had spread worldwide. "It did not
affect our business mission," Hadesty said. "We're always going to be subjected
to something like this. That is the price of being open."
Army: A spokesmen said Army offices in the Pentagon experienced major
e-mail disruptions, and some major commands such as the Aviation-Missile
Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala. and the Tank-Automotive Command, Warren,
Mich. took down their main servers to eliminate the virus.
Census: The ILOVEYOU virus e-mail hit five computers at the Census Bureau's
main office in Suitland, Md., but Census 2000 data was never in any danger
of being compromised. Census data is kept in a mainframe computer that has
no outside access to e-mail and is surrounded by firewalls that make access
J. Gary Doyle, the Census systems integration manager, said that free
e-mail subscriptions from several contractors carried the virus into the
bureau's main headquarters in the morning. The defect was discovered almost
immediately, and users were told to delete the e-mail without opening it.
"We're lucky because we have Lotus Notes," Doyle said. "On our office automation
side, we don't use the Microsoft suite."
CIA: The agency "experienced a handful of isolated attacks or viruses
on our unclassified systems, which were identified and quickly resolved
with negligible effect," a spokeswoman said. The agency has since purged
its systems of the e-mails and has posted warnings to all of its employees,
the spokeswoman said. "At this point that seems adequate."
DOD: The department discovered the virus in many of its unclassified
systems and placed a warning on its Computer Emergency and Response Team
World Wide Web page instructing users not to open the e-mail, according
to spokeswoman Sue Hansen. "Some units have taken their systems offline,
but that was [supposed to be] a last resort," Hansen said.
Education: The department shut down its e-mail and Internet access from
9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., spokesman Jim Bradshaw said. After the systems were
shut down, the department began installing software to prevent the virus
spread, he said. Bradshaw said the Pentagon notified the department at 7:30
a.m., and "as a result we were able to take defensive measures immediately,"
Bradshaw said that chief information officer Craig Luigart found 10,000
incoming ILOVEYOU e-mails queued up for recipients' whose last names began
with "A" or "B." Luigart estimates that throughout the entire department,
the system prevented another 100,000 to 200,000 infected e-mails from being
sent out. All of the viruses have been rendered harmless, Bradshaw said.
Education's Washington, D.C., office has about 3,000 workstations, but
only 17 computers were fully infected after users opened the attachment;
102 other computers received the virus but did not open the attachment,
Energy: Security guards met Energy Department employees at the DOE entrances
in Washington, warning them about the ILOVEYOU virus and telling them not
to open e-mail with it. Nevertheless, the virus apparently entered the computer
system. "It is still spreading," said DOE spokeswoman Ruth Vass. "Some of
the machines are frozen.
EPA: Only two computers were infected and have been restored, according
to an agency spokesman. The virus first reached EPA's system at 9:40 a.m.
and was blocked by 9:48 a.m., and no systems were shut down. The EPA spokesperson
speculated that because the agency uses Lotus Development Corp.'s Notes
e-mail product that the agency didn't have as many problems.
FEMA: The agency found a way to throttle the virus. Click here.
HCFA: Gary Christoph, CIO at the Health Care Financing Administration,
which oversees Medicare and Medicaid, sent a memo to all employees in the
morning that said the agency would be stopping all incoming and outgoing
mail with external sources in order to deal with the virus, according to
The HCFA spokesman also said that most agencies within the Department
of Health and Human Services were taking similar actions. He said internal
e-mail was not affected, but as of 4:40 p.m., the external e-mail shutdown
was still in effect at HCFA.
House of Representatives: The virus bloomed in abundance. "All I know is
I've had more love letters today than I've ever had before," said Bonnie
Heald, spokeswoman for the Government Management, Information and
Technology Subcommittee. The House e-mail system was turned off to keep the
virus from spreading, a move that also prevented Heald from dispatching
Interior: Ninety percent of the Interior Department's eight bureaus were
not affected by the virus. It primarily hit the Mineral Management Services
Division, which is the only one that does not use Lotus Notes. Interior
took its Microsoft Exchange servers off line until the virus was contained,
according to David Shearer, of Interior's Chief Information Architecture
Division. Agency IT personnel worked "all day and through the night" with
several antivirus vendors, he said.
NARA: A spokeswoman at the National Archives and Records Administration
said a virus warning issued early in the day headed off any complications.
The Archives, which stores the nation's valuable records, is tackling the
technology of electronic records storage, including e-mail messages.
Despite ongoing controversy over whether or when it is legal to delete
e-mail messages from government computer systems, Archives officials said
it is OK to delete virus-bearing e-mails. "One may delete an e-mail
containing a computer virus, just as one may delete personal messages such
as an e-mail to arrange lunch with one's wife," an Archives official said.
NASA: The space agency confirmed the virus infected agency systems but
no mission-critical systems were damaged. Some e-mail systems were brought
down for analysis.
SBA: The agency shut down all its databases and has posted warnings
on every floor of its buildings as well as on its intranet. "Our biggest
concern is this may go beyond e-mail systems and SBA, and other agencies
are looking at the potential of losing some very important government information,"
an SBA spokesman said. "We are having to revert back to the age-old, hard-copy
directories for information," he said.
Senate: The "ILOVEYOU" virus prompted the Senate to shut down parts of its
e-mail system for several hours, but "by and large, the impact was pretty
minimal," said Tracy Williams, director of technology development for the
Senate sergeant at arms.
"We got a lot of inbound messages with the
'ILOVEYOU' subject line and the
virus attachment," but Senate workers were warned early not to open them.
Some Senate e-mail post offices were shut down for several hours while
Williams and his staff researched the virus. But it appears that few
computers were infected and little if any data was damaged, he said.
State: "We've blocked the ability to send attachments on both our classified
and unclassified systems at the firewalls," a State Department source said.
Transportation: Confirmed the virus infected its networks but no mission-critical
systems were damaged.
VA: The Department of Veterans Affairs' e-mail system was shut down for 24
hours to prevent the Love bug from getting into the system.
White House, OMB: Officials said the "love bug" was successfully held at
bay. "I understand there are a few isolated cases that have been dealt
with," said presidential spokesman Joe Lockhart. Cybersecurity personnel
"dealt with" the virus early in the morning, and "operations are running
smoothly," he said.
An OMB official said White House e-mail systems remained running despite
the virus scare. "Our e-mail is part of the White House system, and mine
wasn't shut down."