Fleet News

Learn a lesson from the love bug!

FLEET managers must learn important lessons from a devastating computer virus which caused havoc throughout British businesses and cost tens of millions of pounds to repair. The virus, nicknamed the love bug because it was spread through e-mails with the enticing message 'ILOVEYOU', hit the fleet industry, including manufacturers, software suppliers and fleets.

A man and two women have been arrested in the Philippines. Although Ford was not directly affected, it took the decision to shut down its e-mail systems to prevent the virus from infecting its computers. Other victims included Barclays Bank, Coca Cola, News International and the House of Commons. Once activated, the virus sends itself to all addresses on the user's electronic mailing list (and then in some cases wipes the list) and begins searching out files on computer systems before wiping over them with blank documents.

As fleet managers increasingly use the internet and e-mail to communicate with drivers and suppliers, the threat from damaging viruses increases and raises the importance of taking precautions, according to Richard Pearce, technical director of fleet management software firm Tranman Solutions. He said: 'We had several of the e-mails arrive at our offices, but our staff were trained not to open these type of e-mails. Some were from our fleet customers, so it has affected the industry. They are not immune from this.

'As electronic communication becomes more important to all businesses, including transport, everyone must take precautions against unwarranted intrusion. This needs to be carefully considered.'

There are two vital keys to keeping systems safe - back-up all data, either by having a paper copy or an independent electronic store of the previous day's computer files; and train staff not to open non-business-related or suspicious e-mails. This is particularly important as the virus has provoked a string of imitations which could easily cripple systems.

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