UPDATE 1-Qatar's Rasgas hit by computer virus

Thu Aug 30, 2012 7:59pm IST

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By Daniel Fineren

DUBAI Aug 30 (Reuters) - Qatar's Rasgas has found a virus in its office computer network, the world's second-biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter said on Thursday, just two weeks after the world's biggest oil producer in neighbouring Saudi Arabia was hacked into.

"The company's office computers have been affected by an unknown virus ... It was first identified on Monday," Rasgas, one of two Qatari LNG producers, said in a statement.

"Operational systems both onsite and offshore are secure and this does not affect production at the Ras Laffan Industrial City plant or scheduled cargoes."

It was not clear whether Rasgas has been victim of the same malicious software or hacker group that targeted about 30,000 desktop PCs at Saudi Aramco on Aug. 15.

Saudi Aramco also said oil production and key data were unaffected by the intrusion into its office networks by a virus thought designed to wipe files from desktop hard drives.

But two weeks on, the Saudi Aramco website www.aramco.com which was taken offline by the company to limit options for further attacks, remained down on Thursday.

Rasgas' website and email servers have also been off this week, with emails to the company bouncing back as they do from Aramco. A company spokeswoman was unable to say whether this was due to Rasgas shielding its electronic systems from more intrusions or the effect of the virus itself.

A spokesman for Rasgas parent Qatar Petroleum said the group company had not been affected by any virus, while sister company Qatargas was unavailable for comment. Emails from both those companies appeared to be working normally on Thursday afternoon. (Editing by David Holmes)

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