Cyber experts' warning after spate of social media hacks in North East

Cyber experts from Northumbria Police are encouraging people to step up their online security after a recent spate of social media hacks.

By Ross Robertson
Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 6:03 pm
People are being urged to take care online
People are being urged to take care online

In a handful of cases, friends and family members of people whose accounts had been breached unknowingly sent money to hackers who purported to be their loved one genuinely asking for financial help.

In others, people and businesses lost access to their accounts meaning secure data, private conversations and other information was lost.

Officers from the Force’s fraud and cybercrime teams are now urging people to step up their security.

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Claire Vandenbroecke, cyber protect and prepare officer.

“For a lot of people social media, especially Facebook, is often synced to the apps we use daily for things like shopping and banking and this can pose real problems in the event of a security breach,” said Claire Vandenbroecke, the Force’s Cyber Protect and Prepare officer.

“A lot of people think they don’t hold anything important or worth hacking on their social media when in fact your Facebook account could be synced to so much more than you realise – even something like logging into a takeaway through your social media could compromise your financial information.

“Your accounts may also have photos pf your family, your children and private conversations which in the event of a breach you might never regain access to.

“It’s really simple to avoid a hack so we’d ask everyone to update their passwords, making sure they are different for each site – we usually recommend a combination of three random words and you can save these in your browser.

"A lot of people don’t realise you can do this, but it helps you remember them and is actually safer than using a weak password.

“We’d also ask everyone to turn on two-factor authentication for an extra level of security, and to regularly update your devices and operating systems to keep them free of any glitches. There’s plenty of help online so if you want to learn more, visit the National Cyber Security Centre’s website.”

Visit the National Cyber Security Centre’s Cyber Aware page which gives advice on setting up secure passwords and also provides links to the most popular email service providers and social media’s help pages which give advice on how to set up 2FA on each of their platforms: