Cyber experts from Northumbria Police are encouraging people to step up their online security after a national trend of shocking social media hacks.
In some cases within the region, there have been instances where criminals upload IIOC (Indecent Images of Children) to business and individual Facebook accounts which has resulted in the account being taken down and offline by Facebook.
The Force’s cybercrime team are now encouraging users to be extra-vigilant to what they click on after businesses and individuals’ Facebook accounts have been compromised.
Force Specialist Cyber Protect & Prepare Officer, Maria Bartley said: “This is a particularly distressing trend for both account owners and other social media users. Scams such as these can cause lasting damage for those involved which can be difficult to undo.
“Reports of this type are mostly linked to Facebook, although it’s clear this can happen on any platform, so we’d ask users to be particularly vigilant if they see anything which may be suspect.
She said: “If you are ever asked to input login usernames and passwords, please ask yourself whether has come from a genuine source – often using social media applications rather than web browsers adds an extra layer of security and reassurance.
“If you are sent unexpected messages requesting you to verify your details by clicking on a link or if you are ever asked to send a code you’ve received to someone – don’t, as this is likely to be a onetime passcode for your account that the hacker is trying to scam you into sending them so they can take control of your account.
“I would also like everyone to consider updating your passwords, making sure they are different for each site they visit or application you use – we usually recommend a combination of three random words (do not use personal details) comprising of both lower, uppercase letters and symbols. Doing this will make it harder for the hackers to guess or hack. Most web browsers will offer to store your online passwords and it is safe to do this. You can also use a standalone password manager.
“I’d also advise everyone to turn on two-factor authentication (2FA) for all your social media accounts to add that extra level of security, and to regularly update your software on your devices. There’s plenty of help online so if you want to learn more, visit the National Cyber Security Centre’s website.
Maria added: “If you’re worried your account has been hacked or know anyone who has had their account hacked in this way, please report via Action Fraud by visiting the website, or by calling 0300 123 2040.”
To install 2FA on Facebook, visit: https://www.facebook.com/help/148233965247823