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AGA Says No Natural Gas Utilities Hit by WannaCry Cyberattack

The American Gas Association (AGA) said no natural gas utilities have been compromised by WannaCry ransomware, a cyberattack that has affected computer systems and caused mayhem worldwide.

Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said it was "ready to lend technical support and assistance" to its partners in the U.S. and foreign nations over the ransomware -- defined by the agency as a type of malicious software, or malware, that infects a computer system and restricts users' access until a ransom has been paid to unlock it.

In a joint statement Monday, the AGA and the Downstream Natural Gas Information Sharing and Analysis Center (DNG-ISAC) said public-private partnerships within the natural gas industry have proven crucial for timely information sharing.

"At this point, no compromise has been identified by a natural gas utility in connection with the WannaCry ransomware cyber-attacks," said Jim Linn, AGA's managing director for information technology and executive director at DNG-ISAC. He said the latter "and the natural gas industry community that supports it remain active and vigilant as the WannaCry ransomware cyberattacks have unfolded throughout the world."

Linn said software patches, indicators of compromise and other relevant data collected by the DHS and other agencies "was shared in a timely way." He mentioned the Transportation Security Administration's Pipeline Security Division, the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Energy.

"Gas utility information technology systems and supervisory control and data acquisition systems have been fortified," Linn said. "The DNG-ISAC continues to share threat, vulnerability and situational awareness amongst its community of U.S. and Canadian natural gas distribution and transmission companies."

Last Friday, DHS encouraged Americans to download a patch that Microsoft Corp. released in March. The patch addresses a specific vulnerability within Microsoft's Windows system that allows WannaCry to infiltrate.

"Installing this patch will help secure your systems from the threat," DHS said. "Individual users are often the first line of defense against this and other threats, and we encourage all Americans to update your operating systems and implement vigorous cybersecurity practices at home, work, and school."

According to reports, WannaCry has so far infected hundreds of thousands of computers around the world in 150 countries. Brazil's state-owned oil company -- Petróleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras -- has reportedly been affected.

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