NHS hospitals have been hit with an apparent major cyberattack -- and some operations were cancelled

LONDON — NHS hospitals across England are experiencing “major” technical issues, apparently as a result of a cyber attack.

At least one NHS trust is telling people not to come to A&E, and that it is “postponing all non-urgent activity.” There are also┬áreports on Twitter of operations being cancelled due to the attack.

The Guardian reports that the East and North Hertfordshire NHS trust said in a statement: “Today (Friday, 12 May 2017), the trust has experienced a major IT problem, believed to be caused by a cyber attack.

“Immediately on discovery of the problem, the trust acted to protect its IT systems by shutting them down; it also meant that the trust’s telephone system is not able to accept incoming calls.

“The trust is postponing all non-urgent activity for today and is asking people not to come to A&E – please ring NHS111 for urgent medical advice or 999 if it is a life-threatening 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.”

The Blackpool Gazette is reporting that a “virus” has spread throughout the network after starting in Lancashire. It has shared an image of what appears to be ransomware — a type of malware that encrypts a computer’s files then demands a ransom to unlock them.

NHS England did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

This story is developing…

NOW WATCH: Chinese inventors show off the gladiator robot they want to use to challenge the US’ ‘Megabot’

NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos

Want to read a more in-depth view on the trends influencing Australian business and the global economy? BI / Research is designed to help executives and industry leaders understand the major challenges and opportunities for industry, technology, strategy and the economy in the future. Sign up for free at research.businessinsider.com.au.