The powerful computer virus that swept the world Thursday infected the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. But technicians zapped it before serious damage occurred.
"Yeah, we got hit a little bit," Jim White, director of the district's data processing, confirmed Friday.
"We got it under control quickly. It made for an exciting day."
People received e-mail, often from familiar addresses, with a subject line reading ''ILOVEYOU.'' Those who opened an attachment listed as ''LOVELETTER'' got a rude shock. Instead of romance, the mail delivered a computer virus that devoured files and propagated by sending itself to everyone in the computer's address book.
World news reported major computer system disruptions beginning in Asia and moving west with the sun to affect Europe and then the United States. Investigators believe it originated in the Philippines.
Alaska seems to have benefited from its far western time zone. Warnings were making the rounds of national news outlets and computer mailing lists before most Alaskans logged on for the day.
Three workers who arrived early at the school district were the only borough employees hit. The so-called "love bug" trashed 504 of their files, White said.
When he arrived at 8 a.m., he already knew what was happening.
Technicians on the data processing staff mounted a rapid counter-attack. A team of David Henson, Eric Soderquist and Russ Wyatt knew exactly what had happened and obtained a program to stop the destruction in the three contaminated computers.
The district successfully used the same e-mail system that had spread the virus to rapidly warn employees to stop it. Once alerted, people deleted the infected e-mail messages.
The technicians then helped the unlucky workers restore files using backups from the day before.
The affair cost the district a chunk of staff time, tying up the three technicians for a couple of hours, messing up the day for the three people whose files were erased and inconveniencing others indirectly through corrupted folders in the wider district system, White said.
Other borough departments were not infected, he said.
In other parts of the world, users were less lucky.
In Sweden, the virus shut down 80 percent of e-mail servers. Victims worldwide included the British Parliament, AT&T Corp. and the U.S. Senate.
The virus targets computers running on Microsoft's Windows operating system, attacking the Outlook e-mail program and the Internet Explorer browser, both of which also are made by Microsoft.
The peninsula school district relies heavily on computers, but few of them were vulnerable to this particular bug, said Phil Biggs, the district's director of technology.
The district's computers are about 80 percent Macintosh and do not use Outlook, he said.
White said the district is back to normal, but the incident highlights the dangers of Internet sabotage.
"We are pretty confident that we have it all. But it could start all over again," he warned.
Although people are on guard against this virus, copycat hackers could send out similar attacks in different guises.
"It is a script any kid could use. I think this one could be with us a while," he said.
White and others with the school district are spreading the word that people should never open any e-mail attachments they do not expect.
"Just delete 'em," he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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