Reuters:A massive ransomware campaign appears to have infected a number of organisations around the world.Screenshots of a well known program that locks computers and demands a payment in Bitcoin have been shared online by parties claiming to be affected.
There have been reports of infections in the UK, US, China, Russia, Spain, Italy, Vietnam, Taiwan and others.
Security researchers are linking the incidents together.
One cyber-security researcher tweeted that he had detected 36,000 instances of the ransomware, called WannaCry and variants of that name.
“This is huge,” he said.
The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) was also hit by a ransomware outbreak and screenshots of the WannaCry program were shared by NHS staff.
Spain said on Friday a large number of companies, including telecommunications giant Telefonica (TEF.MC), had been infected with malicious software known as “ransomware” which locks up computers and demands ransoms.
The hacking was carried out as hospitals and doctors’ surgeries in England were forced to turn away patients and cancel appointments on Friday after a ransomware attack crippled some computer systems in the state-run health service.
Portugal Telecom was also hit by a cyber attack but no services were impacted, a spokeswoman for the company said.