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04 Apr 2003

US democracy held up by computer virus, Sophos reveals

Will County, IllinoisSophos, a world leader in anti-virus protection for business, has found out that the counting of votes in Will County, Illinois, was this week disrupted by a computer virus.

According to local media reports, some of Will County's precincts, which electronically transmit results to a central server, were unable to do so because this server was flooded with bogus requests as a result of a virus infection. The website designed to publish election results as they came in crashed during the attack, denying voters and candidates from discovering the results.

Will County's electorate was voting for various local council positions, including city mayors. Its Director of Information Systems said that he had informed the FBI of the incident, and believed the virus may have originated in Japan.

"Remember the rumpus about the hanging chads in Florida? This virus incident highlights the possible future dangers of e-voting," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos Anti-Virus. "Countries considering opening up democracy to the online world in order to appeal to a younger generation need to take care not to open it up to internet-borne attacks too."

Sophos advises all computer users to ensure their anti-virus software is kept up to date and to practice safe computing to avoid infection.

About Sophos

More than 100 million users in 150 countries rely on Sophos as the best protection against complex threats and data loss. Sophos is committed to providing complete security solutions that are simple to deploy, manage, and use and that deliver the industry's lowest total cost of ownership. Sophos offers award-winning encryption, endpoint security, web, email, mobile and network security solutions backed by SophosLabs - a global network of threat intelligence centers.

Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.