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Nearly 75,000 computers at more than 2,400 companies worldwide have been the victim of a large-scale cyber attack.

According to the Wall Street Journal, hackers operating in Eastern Europe and China have been infiltrating company computers for more than a year and a half. The hackers used dubious Web sites and e-mail attachments to infect the computers with an advanced virus called a botnet that most anti-virus programs do not protect against. The threat was uncovered by NetWitness, a firm that monitors Internet security.

Companies in nearly 200 countries were affected, with the United States being one of the hardest hit. The Journal reports that 10 U.S. government agencies have been affected, as have big businesses like Paramount Pictures, Juniper Networks and Merck & Co., the pharmaceutical company. The hackers have yet to be stopped, and more companies could be at risk.

More from the Journal: “At one company, the hackers gained access to a corporate server used for processing online credit-card payments. At others, stolen passwords provided access to computers used to store and swap proprietary corporate documents, presentations, contracts and even upcoming versions of software products.”

It’s been a bad year for computer safety. Just last month, Google revealed that it and dozens of other companies were victims of a Chinese cyber attack.

Unless you are a computer whiz, it’s going to be difficult to stop a cyber attack of this scale. Luckily, there are some great sites you can use to protect your online identity.

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