Update: The malware used in the huge NHS hack is now spreading across the world.
The problems are hitting people and companies across Europe and Asia, according to experts.
London: Hospitals across England have been hit by a huge cyber attack, plunging the NHS into chaos. IT systems appear to have broken and emergency patients are having to be diverted to other areas, according to doctors.
The hack appears to be an example of ransomware –malicious hackers breaking into computers and only allowing their owners back in when they pay enough money.
A conversation circulating online saw one doctor saying “our hospital is down”. “We got a message saying your computers are now under their control and pay a certain amount of money,” the messages read. “And now everything is gone.”
Affected NHS trusts said that IT systems had been shut down in order to protect them. That meant that all systems were offline and hospitals were unable to accept incoming calls.
East and North Hertfordshire NHS trust also said that it was asking people not to come to A&E, but instead to ring 111, or 999 in the case of an emergency.
“To ensure that all back-up processes and procedures were put in place quickly, the trust declared a major internal incident to make sure that patients already in the trust’s hospitals continued to receive the care they need,” a spokesperson for the trust said.
Other trusts stressed that some of the problems were being caused by protective measures, rather than the cyber attack itself.
“Following a suspected national cyber attack we are taking all precautionary measures possible to protect our local NHS systems and services,” NHS Merseysideâ in the north of England said on Twitter.