HE cyber-attack that caused chaos last week underlines very clearly what we already know but all too frequently fail to take steps to avoid. Most of us are connected to the World Wide Web via our computers or phones.

Few of us take all the necessary regular steps to protect ourselves. To be honest, there aren’t enough hours in the day sometimes. It is probably a coincidence since the day of the NHS meltdown I have had three attacks myself.

That evening I received around 7000 or more spam emails in my Inbox. I don’t know the exact amount, as they were arriving faster than I could delete. I checked my spam filters and virus checkers and they all seemed fine.

I ran a diagnostic tool which revealed nothing. It took hours over the weekend to delete them all and ensure, as far as I could, that genuine emails did not disappear into the abyss of junk.

Then someone hacked my frequent flier points and booked a flight to Zurich in ten days’ time. I discovered that when I luckily checked for the first time in months, enabling the airline to investigate. And then my grocery delivery account was somehow hi-jacked and an order by the hacker to be delivered elsewhere was intercepted and my account frozen. All in one week.

Then begins the lengthy task of trying to find out how to protect all the other online services I access. Logging on to the international providers of the software doesn’t help. All you find are websites where other customers try to help each other. There are very few places where the major suppliers that we depend on offer real assistance.

I am afraid that for sites that seemed low risk to me (wrongly it seems) I have the same password and reserve the complicated un-guessable ones for financial and high risk sites. It seems I now must change them all. Then how do you remember them? Well you have to write them down somewhere. And as we use the internet when we are out and about it means the passwords have to go with you somehow. Another massive vulnerability.

Whatever we do it is clear that there are people with the ability and desire to rob us at arms’ length. They are clearly very clever and could do very well using their talents in legitimate arenas. Sadly they choose not to.