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Philippine officials charge alleged 'Love Bug' virus creator
MANILA, Philippines (CNN) -- The Philippine National Bureau of Investigation used a credit-card fraud law on Thursday to charge the man they say unleashed the 'Love Bug' computer virus and recommended that Philippine justice officials prosecute him.
Onel de Guzman, 24, a computer school student, has admitting writing a password-stealing program as a school project. De Guzman's attorney told a news conference that the virus may have been sent out from de Guzman's apartment by mistake and that he meant no harm.
Estimates of the damage caused by the virus, released on an unsuspecting cyberworld on May 4, however, have mounted into the billions of dollars.
Philippine officials have had trouble finding an applicable law to use since, until recently, the country had no laws against cyber crime.
However, NBI officials said they had charged de Guzman with violation of the Access Device Act which covers illegal use of passwords for credit cards and other bank transactions.
The Philippine Justice Department will make the decision whether to proceed based on the evidence the NBI has said it has gathered. Justice officials were not immediately available for comment.
The Love Bug virus destroyed computer files, stole passwords and e-mail addresses, and replicated itself.
Under Philippine law, de Guzman will now be allowed to file affidavits in his defense and present his own evidence.
The NBI said that among the evidence it has compiled are de Guzman's computer school thesis proposal in which he described a Love Bug-type program he wanted to write for the project. Investigators said they had also compiled interviews and other computer evidence pointing to de Guzman.
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