Figures reveal West Yorkshire Police received over 500 social media and email hacking reports in just one year

New figures have revealed that West Yorkshire Police received over 500 reports in the space of a year from people whose social media and email accounts had been hacked.

Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 4:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 6:12 pm
New research shows West Yorkshire Police is one of the top regions in England and Wales for hackers

According to data from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, the force received 539 reports from people whose social media and email accounts had been hacked between January and December in 2020.

During this period, April saw the highest amount of hackers being reported with 60 cases, and August the least with 29 reports.

In the whole of England and Wales, West Yorkshire Police was the fourth highest police force for total cases in the year-long time period.

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While the total losses suffered by victims in the West Yorkshire region has not been revealed, the accumulative financial loss from 13,343 victims across England and Wales was over £3.5million.

These figures were from 43 police forces in which the most cases, 1,449, were reported in April in total, followed by 1,358 cases reported in May.

September saw the least number of social media and email hacking cases reported with 870 reports.

Metropolitan Police had the highest number of reports with 2,357 in the year, and the West Midlands Police and Thames Valley Police forces were second and third with how many hacking cases had been reported.

City of London Police had only 26 hacking cases reported in 2020 which was the lowest of all 43 forces.

Detective Inspector Dan Tillett of the West Yorkshire Police Cyber Crime Team, said: “Cyber crime can take many guises and range from the targeting of individuals to more significant crimes against larger groups and organisations.

“West Yorkshire Police works with partners to raise awareness of cyber crime and in the last 10 months has worked with more than 1,500 individuals on webinars and online workshops – each attendee receiving specific advice on keeping devices updated, creating strong passwords and using two-step authentication where possible to prevent their accounts being compromised.” have offered some top tips on how best individuals can protect their social media and email accounts from hackers:

A strong password is essential

Don’t make life easy for hackers by having a basic password. You need to have a password that is hard to crack and to achieve this, you must use a combination of different characters to create a complex password that include uppercase letters, lowercase letters, special characters, and numbers. Also, try to regularly update your password – do so at least once every three months.

Opt-in for multi-factor authentication

Most social media and email companies now have multi-factor authentication to add an element of additional security. Multi-factor authentication is where you must provide at least two pieces of personal information to verify your identity (i.e. username/password + security question or SMS/email ‘pin’ token) before gaining access to your full social media or email account.

Carefully assess third-party applications

It has become the norm for people to open new accounts by using their existing social media or email login credentials. Understandably so, as ‘log in with Facebook/Google’ is much more convenient than going through the whole ‘create new account’ process but in doing so, be mindful what sensitive information you are agreeing to give third-party apps access to from your social media/email accounts. To avoid this, take your time to familiarise yourself with the terms and conditions before signing up.