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Computer virus cramps Pan-Am Games

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The 2003 Pan American Games this week have been disrupted by a computer virus.

The unnamed virus interfered with the results service at the international sporting event being held in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.

Press from around the world were unable to access the latest scores and results from competitions because IT systems had been brought down by the mystery malware, Reuters reports. The virus-related disruption this Monday was the second day running that the results service went on the blink.

"If you organise an international event, the eyes of the world are watching you, so it's vital that there are no hiccups, such as a virus infection" said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos Anti-Virus. "Viruses do not discriminate between its victims - they are just as capable of damaging data held by businesses as they are of disrupting social and sporting events. The message is simple: if you use computers, ensure that you have virus protection against the latest threats."

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, water-less toilets at venues and even spectators arriving at venues with firearms.

The Pan American Games, held every four years since 1951, is attended by athletes from 42 nations across North, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. The event showcases all 28 Olympic sports and seven non-Olympic events. ®

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