Virus knocks out computers at Qatari gas firm RasGas

RasGas confirms corporate network is down because of an unknown virus.

Elinor Mills
Elinor Mills Former Staff Writer
Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service and the Associated Press.

Less than two weeks after 30,000 computers at a Saudi oil company fell prey to a virus, a Qatari gas firm's Web site and corporate network are also down because of a virus.

An unknown virus has affected office computer systems since Monday, a spokesman for RasGas, the second largest producer of liquified natural gas in the world, told Arabian Oil and Gas.com today. The company's Web site, Rasgas.com, remained down, as well.

The virus has not impacted production operations or cargo deliveries, said the unidentified RasGas spokesman. The company is a joint venture between Qatar Petroleum and ExxonMobil.

James Herron, EMEA Energy News Editor at Dow Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal, tweeted this morning: "Sources tell us the virus that shut down RasGas computers is also Shamoon, the virus widely-believed to have hit Aramco earlier this month."

Last weekend, Saudi Aramco confirmed that 30,000 of its work stations had been hit with a "malicious" undisclosed virus August 15 and took more than a week to get back online.

A hacker group calling itself Cutting Sword of Justice issued a public statement the day Saudi Aramco was attacked, claiming it had sent a virus to destroy 30,000 computers to protest the Al-Saud regime's support for government repression in neighboring countries. A subsequent public message from hackers indicated that the Shamoon virus was used in the attack.