A ransomware attack is spreading worldwide, using alleged NSA exploit

Barts Health NHS Trust in London was "experiencing a major IT disruption and there are delays at all of our hospitals", its website said. It said it believed the malware variant is called "Wanna Decryptor".

It is believed that a type of malware, called ransomware - which locks users out of their computer unless they pay a certain amount of money - is being used to lock down hospitals in England.

Portugal Telecom was hit on Friday by a cyber attack but no services were impacted, a spokeswoman for the company said.

As similar widespread ransomware attacks were reported in Spain, Romania and elsewhere, experts warned that online extortion attempts by hackers are a growing menace.

Some Russian media also have reported cyberattacks on the Interior Ministry and the Investigative Committee. "We have activated our major incident plan to make sure we can maintain the safety and welfare of patients", a statement from Barts said.

A massive ransomware campaign appears to have attacked a number of organisations around the world.

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Hospital trusts across England and Scotland have admitted they've been caught up in the attack, with appointments cancelled, phone lines down and ambulances divereted.

Others have shared images of the screenshot that shows the ransom demand. There are 16 medical facilities affected in the United Kingdom right now, and several large companies in Spain, including Telefonica, a major telecom provider.

The cyber attack had not affected the provision of the companies' services or the operation of their networks and the national cybersecurity institute was working to resolve it as soon as possible, the Spanish government said in a statement. He said that mobile communications haven't been affected.

"This incident highlights the risk to data security within the modern health service and reinforces the need for cyber security to be at the heart of government planning", Labour's health spokesman Jonathan Ashworth said. While some procedures are still able to be carried out without the computer systems operating, some hospitals have begun diverting emergency patients to other areas that have not been affected by the attack.

The U.K.'s National Cyber Security Center says it's working with both the digital office of the NHS and law enforcement. A spokesperson said: "We don't know". The cyberattack, he said, could cause a major backlog in referrals.

A staff member who works at NHS Bury CCG's offices on Silver Street said a virus had infected the computer system.

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