BRING back my old typewriter! Life was so much simpler back in the days before the worldwide web and cyber attacks!

Last weekend we saw again what can happen when our computers are attacked – and when it affects the NHS the way it did, it is a serious business indeed.

This is only one of years of attacks on defence systems, governments and personal computers. It is quite scary.

There is no doubt that computers have made our lives easier in many respects.

I no longer need to go to the doctor. I can look online and discover for myself that I am suffering from a rare tropical disease and have only hours left to live or, alternately, have a common cold.

I no longer keep piles of scrapbooks enough to destroy a complete rainforest. Instead, I can check back articles on our archive system. In fact, I can even Google myself – and that is an interesting experience.

I very proudly discovered that there is a photo, taken by me, in New Zealand’s national museum Te Papa.

I think I have shared my earliest journalistic experiences before. In the days before laptops, I carried my typewriter around. It was heavy, but still portable.

We used to write on pieces of paper roughly the size of a reporter’s notebook page. You would get, at most, two paragraphs to a page and each one had to be carbon copied. That means using two pieces of paper with carbon paper between them. It was a fiddly business.

If we needed background to a story we would have to look up old newspaper files. This was a long, laborious process, but there was no other choice. Now you don’t even have to leave your office or even your seat. Any information you want is at your fingertips.

Colleagues used to laugh at my mother. She was a nursing sister. If she was on nights, she sometimes removed her uniform belt and veil. If the phone rang, she immediately fixed herself up before answering.

Little did she or her colleagues imagine that one day someone phoning her would actually be able to see her. That was the stuff of science fiction!

Now I can pick up my mobile phone and contact my daughter in Indonesia, my son in New Zealand, and see both of them through means of a video call.

I can see Elvis singing my favourite songs on YouTube. I can look up words to a forgotten song, access information about television programmes I loved in the ’50s and ’60s – anything and everything is available to me.

We have gained so much, but what have we lost? Security would be the first and most obvious thing.

In the same way we can find out about everything else, it seems everyone else can find out about us. I am on Facebook. I internet bank. I communicate with my doctors’ surgery by computer. How safe am I?

The only problem I have had was when my credit card details were stolen. I found out when the credit card company called me to see if I had booked into a hotel in New York.

I don’t know if the fraudsters got my card details through the internet – I buy things online – or through some other transaction.

I remember feeling surprised that this could happen to me.

My car was stolen once upon a time when I had left the keys in it.

When I told a friend it was my own fault, she argued. She said nobody had the right to steal, no matter the circumstances.

Maybe the same applies to the internet.

We are entitled to the benefits of modern technology and to use them safely.

If cyber attackers, fraudsters and thieves take that away from us, they are in the wrong and should face the full force of the law. It’s their fault, not ours.