20-23 July 2023 Jodrell Bank Observatory

The Hunt for the Hacker Who Started It All

In May 2000, an email arrived in inboxes around the world with a near-irresistible message: “kindly check the attached loveletter”.

The mail was loaded with a virus – within days it had paralysed banks, broadcasters and businesses across the globe.

It presaged a new era of crime, in which our digitally-connected world has left us prey to hackers operating thousands of miles from their victims.

Yet no-one was ever prosecuted for the so-called Love Bug virus, and no-one ever confessed to creating it. Until now.

For his new book, Crime Dot Com, investigative journalist Geoff White tracked down the man behind the Love Bug and discovered how, while barely out of school, he created worldwide computer chaos.

Twenty years on, his tactics are every bit as dangerous in an online world increasingly vulnerable to those who target our money, personal data, political processes and more.

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