A RANSOMWARE virus is said to be rapidly spreading across the globe, affecting at least 57,000 computers.
Spain’s telecommunications giant Telefonica and the UK’s National Health Service are among those affected.
The virus infects computer files and blocks them until moneys are paid.
More than 74 countries are reported to be affected, with that number expected to grow.
The UK and Spain are among the first nations to officially recognise the attack.
Brit PM Theresa May has said the attack on UK hospitals is part of a wider international attack.
The virus blocks files from being accessed before dropping a ransom note to users, demanding that $300 be paid in bitcoins to unlock them, within a certain time frame.
As more time passes, the price demanded increases.
If the money is not paid, the virus promises to delete the files.
The NHS is said to be in chaos as IT systems have broken down while emergency patients are being diverted to other areas.
Scheduled appointments had to be cancelled, ambulances were diverted while some departments shut down completely.