WEEKLY WEB WATCH: Clear path to Microsoft’s virus cure

Organisation: Microsoft

Organisation: Microsoft

Issue: The Love Bug

At: www.microsoft.com

Who could resist opening an e-mail that said ’I love you’? Millions of

people around the world couldn’t, and many organisations and businesses

- including the Pentagon, the House of Commons, BT and News

International - found their systems contaminated by the ’Love Bug’ virus

at the end of last week.

The virus, which sent itself to everyone in a recipient’s e-mail address

book, appeared to have originated in the Philippines and spread via Hong

Kong to Europe and the US during the course of 4 May through the

Microsoft Outlook system. Microsoft was also one of the companies hit by

the virus.

It’s amazing how often companies in the headlines fail to update their

web sites quickly in response to current affairs, but Microsoft’s site

delivers a huge amount of information. The lead news story to click on

to on its home page is ’Find information and resources for the Love

Letter virus’.

This goes on to a ’special notice’ which spells out what the virus might

do, and then offers two options of further advice for general business

and personal users, and Microsoft Exchange Server administrators.

General users are directed to a bulletin in Microsoft’s TechNet area on

the site which gives easy to understand advice on how to best protect

themselves from this and other types of viruses. The bulletin also has

links to anti-virus companies where more information can be found on how

to get rid of the virus.

The bulletin for support staff is written in more technical language and

includes a downloadable file with instructions and tools to remove the

Love Letter virus and repair the damage.

The press release section within the corporate area of the site does not

communicate any of this separately in press release format. The press

room does give Microsoft’s point of view of the US trial which has

proposed to split the company up to prevent a monopoly of the


Elsewhere within the corporate area, there is information for investors,

and details of the company’s mission and history, its community

involvement programmes, and a link to Bill Gates’ own home page. There

is also information about jobs at Microsoft, and different areas for

different types of users.

Microsoft may be a controversial company, but its web site communicates

clearly, and in a tailored way, to a wide range of audiences. Mind you,

it would be more surprising if the internet giant didn’t have its own

on-line presence sorted.

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