It then sent copies of itself to everyone in the victim's address book and started corrupting files on the victim's machine. It is really more of a Trojan horse distributed by e-mail than it is a virus.
The Melissa virus took advantage of the programming language built into Microsoft Word called VBA, or Visual Basic for Applications.
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Commandeered accounts will send out links to viruses in instant messages; anyone who clicks the link and installs a Trojan application will have their own account hijacked and unwittingly spam their own friends with the compromising link.
Now that we've covered e-mail viruses, let's take a look at worms.
A programmer can insert a program into a document that runs instantly whenever the document is opened. Anyone who opened a document infected with Melissa would immediately activate the virus.
It would send the 50 e-mails, and then infect a central file called NORMAL.
In the case of the ILOVEYOU virus, the whole thing was human-powered.