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24 Jul 2003

Minister blames wrong examination marks on computer virus

"A virus ate my exam results"

Bengal

The West Bengal Education Minister, Kanti Biswas, has blamed a computer virus for students receiving incorrect marks in Higher Secondary examinations this week.

Biswas told the State Assembly in Calcutta that an unnamed virus attacked computer systems earlier this year, resulting in a number of errors on mark sheets. 19 separate cases of irregularities in marking were discovered, and blamed on virus infection.

According to media reports in the Indian press, opposition politicians had called for resignations as this is not the first time Higher Secondary examination results have been found to be in error.

Biswas told the State Assembly that he regretted the faults in the examination system and announced that there would be a full review of the marking process next year to avoid similar problems in the future.

"Saying 'a virus ate my exam results' is no excuse. No computer is immune from virus attack, so all users should take steps to ensure their PCs are protected against the latest viruses," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos Anti-Virus. "But let's not forget that the real villains of this story are the people who wrote the viruses in the first place. Virus writers should think twice before unleashing their malicious code. They are putting the future educational and career prospects of peers and schoolmates at risk - not to mention their own."

Earlier this year viruses were also responsible for disrupting the counting of votes in a US election, and embarrassed a government data security agency.

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.