Top UK hacking hotspots revealed

Lock on Laptop Screen
(Image credit: (Image credit: Future)

With Black Friday hours away, the UK is in need of a major top-up of its security awareness, according to a new report that shone the spotlight on the most at-risk areas of the country.

Research from security firm ESET surveying 2,000 UK consumers found that 21 percent of Brits have had an online account hacked, showing how cyber threats can affect users everywhere.

Over half of users (51 percent) also admitted to clicking on links in scam emails, causing them to end up on dodgy websites that put their details at risk.

More than two fifths of Brits (44 percent) admitted that they never or rarely changed their email password, and over a third (36 percent) said they had not changed the default privacy settings on their social media networks.

UK security hotspots

Overall, Northern Ireland was identified as the riskiest part of the UK, with nearly one in three users (29 percent) saying they had suffered a hack or breach of their social media or email accounts.

Users in Birmingham and Coventry were found to be the most likely to click on a link in a scam email - and perhaps unsurprisingly also the most likely to fall victim to fraud. Identity fraud was found to be the most common type of fraud across the UK, with men more likely to fall victim than women.

“Email scams are only growing in frequency and it is becoming much harder to spot the ‘good’ from the bad’ as criminals become more sophisticated in their art of deception," said Jake Moore, cybersecurity expert at ESET UK. 

"Never click on or download anything from someone who you aren’t expecting something from and always look at the sender’s email address. If a company emails to say they have locked you out of your account, ask yourself why they would before clicking through in a fit of panic.”

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.