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A virus ate my test scores

Nineteen secondary students in West Bengal, India have an unspecified computer virus to blame for a batch of bad test scores, if you believe the education minister there.

Students and politicians have a reputation for making excuses. But an Indian education official takes the prize for eccentric excuses.

West Bengal education minister Kanti Biswas recently blamed an unspecified computer virus for 19 students receiving incorrect marks for their higher secondary exams.

Biswas expressed regret for the problems and vowed to make a full review of the marking process so that a virus won't cause future hiccups in the exam process. Yet he offered few details about the incident.

Biswas and his department do deserve some heat for the glitch though they don't share the blame exclusively. "But let's not forget that the real villains of this story are the people who wrote the viruses in the first place," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for UK-based antivirus vendor Sophos Plc. in a release. "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."

This is not the first time that a virus hampered civic activities. In April, a virus affected the tabulation of votes in Will County, Ill. Precincts in the county submitted results to a central server but they didn't get through because a virus flooded it with erroneous data.

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