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Ten Students Targeted in 'Love Bug' Virus Probe

Philippine cops widen their net

Philippine authorities are investigating 10 students of the AMA Computer College
(AMACC) as well as a bank employee and his alleged live-in partner for spreading
the devastating "I Love You" virus that caused billions of pounds in damage to
computer systems world-wide.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has already filed charges against Reomel
Ramones, an employee of the Equitable Bank's computer division, and his live-in
partner Irene De Guzman. The couple was charged with violating Republic Act 8484
or the Access Devices Regulation Act of 1998.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) had earlier arrested Ramones at his
house in Pandacan, Manila, but the DOJ decided to release him after 24 hours in
custody.

The NBI was not able to catch De Guzman, who did not surrender to the NBI
despite promising NBI Chief Federico Opinion through her counsel that she would
show up at the NBI office shortly after Ramones was arrested.

The NBI is also gathering evidence against 10 students of the AMACC. The
students were picked out based on information provided by Internet service
provider Sky Internet, which was used by the virus author to store and send out
the virus files.

Other suspects have also been identified by computer experts around the world.
Swedish security specialist Fredrik Bjorck, who helped track down the author of
the Melissa virus, said that a German exchange student living in Australia was
the author of the "I Love You" virus. Another report surmised that the real
culprit was a 23-year-old male in Pandacan who is or was a student of AMACC.

Although Ramones lives in Pandacan, he is in his late twenties or early
thirties, according to agents of the NBI.

Still another report said that De Guzman had a 23-year-old sister living with
them who was a student of the AMA Computer College. The sister's name and
whereabouts are still unknown.

Preliminary hearings for the case against Ramones and De Guzman are due to start
15 May.

The NBI's Opinion refused to divulge what evidence they had against the couple,
but only said that they are still continuing their investigation and gathering
evidence.

Nelson Bartolome, who led the NBI raiding team, said they found no computer
inside the house of Ramones but found only "cables and peripherals" that
"suggest" that there was a computer there previously. They also found computer
diskettes, a telephone set that was plucked out of the phone jack and various
computer publications like books and magazines.

With the absence of local legislation on computer crimes, authorities decided to
charge the couple for violating Republic Act 8484 or the Access Devices
Regulation Act on 1998.


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