What you need to know to combat cyber attacks

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Petya first appeared this morning and has been spreading around the world, mainly infecting businesses and government agencies and departments in the Ukraine and Russian Federation, but there have been increasing reports of businesses in other countries also being compromised, with reports filtering in from the US, UK, Germany, Switzerland and Holland, as some examples.

Ukraine's cyberpolice unit acknowledged the company's statement but stood by its analysis.

Despite the assurances, employees at the Chernobyl nuclear site were continuing to use hand-held Geiger counters to measure radiation levels after the monitoring system was shut down by the hack.

With anything running an Intel processor and being on the same network as an older Windows machine being fair game, Petya has already managed to wreak havoc on a scale comparable to WannaCry despite the former serving as a wake-up call of sorts. India's biggest container port was also crippled when a Maersk-run terminal in Mumbai was hit.

"Obviously they don't control the situation", Victor Zhora of Infosafe in Kiev told the AP.

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North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief Jens Stoltenberg said the situation "underlines the importance of strengthening our cyber defences" as he warned hacking attacks could potentially trigger the US-led bloc's mutual defence commitment.

Russian security software firm Kaspersky said about 2,000 computers were affected - far fewer than the cyberattack last month that targeted 300,000. A spokeswoman for Heritage Valley Health System would say only that operational changes had to be made.

As it launched overnight, European businesses and individuals have been most affected, with everything from supermarkets to hospitals unable to access their computers.

The official explained that JNPT is trying to help the company, but there is little that others can do as the problem s with the systems.

Ukrainian firms, including the state power company and Kiev's main airport, were among the first to report issues. The malware also hit A.P. Moller-Maersk, a Danish shipping company, as well as British advertising agency WPP, plus US pharmaceutical company Merck and Co., among others, according to the Reuters account.

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These factors contribute to a now-prevailing theory that this was a politically motivated attack on Ukraine, coming as it did just as the country is set to celebrate its Constitution Day.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, described the attack as "unprecedented" in a post on Facebook.

But for those concerned about the attack there appears to be fix, albeit one with limited effectiveness.

Hackers have caused widespread disruption across Europe, hitting Ukraine especially hard.

Nuance Communications, a major provider of voice and language tools fell victim to the global ransomware attack on Tuesday.

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Regular consumers who have up-to-date Windows computers are safe from this attack, experts say.

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