According to media reports, the 2003 Pan American Games have been disrupted by a computer virus.
The unnamed computer virus is said to have interfered with the results service at the international sporting event, being held in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. Media representatives around the world were unable to access the latest scores and results from competitions as the computer system was brought down for the second day running on Monday.
The virus infection was the latest in a long line of difficulties facing the organisers of the Pan American Games, including athletes arriving late, a fly-infested media centre, and the use of an amateurishly designed Brazilian flag at the opening ceremony.
"If you organise an international event the eyes of the world are watching you and it's essential that your computer systems are protected against the latest threats," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos Anti-Virus. "Viruses act like a modern-day plague - not only capable of damaging the data held by businesses, but also disrupting entertainment and social events which should be focused on fun."
Sophos is no stranger to protecting international events from the virus threat. Earlier in 2003 it successfully protected the Cannes Film Festival from all virus attacks during the course of the prestigious movie competition.
The Pan American Games, held every four years since 1951, are always held the summer preceding the Olympic Games and are attended by athletes from 42 nations in North, Central and South America, and the Caribbean who compete in 288 events across 35 sports. The event showcases all 28 Olympic sports and seven non-Olympic events.
Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.