Four Nottinghamshire areas are believed to be among the 20 most-hit places in the UK where personal data has been stolen online and put up for sale to fraudsters.
Four post-codes in the city and county were named in a list of the top 20 areas where people’s email addresses and passwords were hacked and being sold online by fraudsters, after research by security firm C6 Intelligence.
It is believed 21,766 people’s details are being sold illicitly by hackers in the NG5 post-code area of Nottingham, around Woodthorpe, Daybrook and Arnold – which was the fourth highest on the list.
Around 17,419 people’s details from the NG9 west Nottingham and Beeston area are believed to have been stolen, along with 16,401 in the NG8 north-west Nottingham post-code area and 15,664 in the NG16 area, near Eastwood.
Joe Burns is the technical director of Pyranet IT support service, based in Eastwood.
He says there’s been an “increase in hacking businesses and also personal identities” worldwide and a local business, like an estate agents with a regional customer database, could have been hacked, with fraudsters gaining access to their information.
“Let’s say an organisation or business has been breached in Nottingham – that could lead to a lot of personal data that is very localised,” he said.
“It could be that there has been a business breached locally where they’ve got information about local individuals; it’s probably because a business has been hit with a regional presence.”
Joe says the city may have also been targeted because it has a high student population, with two universities.
He says there has been cases where fraudsters have tried to takeover a person’s Apple iCloud and social media accounts for “monetary gain”.
“The example that’s been in the press recently is taking someone’s iCloud account, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and, because they [the criminals] have iCloud access, they have a back-up of all the photos on the mobile phone,” he said.
“If there’s been any dodgy photos stored on the phone, they then message the person and say they have control of their social media – with photos and things like that.
“They’ll say ‘if you pay X amount we won’t publish any of that information – but if you don’t we’ll reveal them to all your friends on social media’.”
He says people can be ‘naive’ when it comes to cyber security and called on people to take it more ‘seriously’ by creating stronger passwords and managing their social media accounts more vigilantly.