Have you ever had a conversation with a friend or colleague and then the very thing you were just talking about popped up somewhere online as advertising?
I remember having a conversation with a co-worker about the sea-shanty craze that briefly took over TikTok at the beginning of the year.
The next time I opened YouTube, there were a whole bunch of sea-shanty videos recommended for me.
I didn't Google or search for them on YouTube. Spooky
The big tech companies deny they are listening to us through our phones, they say that their apps don't gather information this way.
But it does make you think.
How secure are our phones? How much of our information are we unknowingly firing off into the ether? Should we be concerned about it?
It's concerning to me we aren't sure just how much data is being collected without our knowledge, but the more disturbing type of electronic intrusion is the more overt attack on Waikato District Health Board last week.
The attack, which has been described as "sophisticated" and "the biggest in New Zealand history", resulted in the cancellation of several surgeries and other treatments.
It meant that some patients needed to be transferred to other DHBs including the Bay of Plenty.
These crims often demand payment to release what they have taken over.
Healthcare is an attractive and vulnerable target for such attacks because there is an imperative to have critical systems up and running as soon as possible – lives are at stake.
This is unchartered territory for New Zealand as Waikato DHB chief executive Dr Kevin Snee says.
Waikato DHB is not alone. Past attacks on businesses such as Toll Group, Fisher and Paykel, MetService, and even the NZX are bad enough.
CERT NZ, the Government agency that works alongside other agencies to help improve cyber security in New Zealand, reported last year, 7809 incidents, a 65 per cent increase from 2019.
It shows that criminals are increasingly using vulnerable computer systems to make a buck.
But this is too close to home for some.
It is long past the insidiousness of pesky phishing emails or dating scams – this is blatant and cruel. Healthcare affects us all.
This is a wake-up call the whole of New Zealand, we need to stay ahead of these attackers to keep our country safe.