Facebook, Instagram and Spotify Among the Accounts Most Targeted by Hackers

Published on
07/03/2023 02:43 PM
Facebook most hacked

New research has revealed that Facebook, Instagram and Spotify users’ accounts are among the most targeted and successfully hacked accounts in the UK.

The study, authored by VPN Central, analysed average monthly Google searches to see which platforms had the highest searches for hacking-related terms such as “hack”, “account hacked”, and “hacking”.

Findings showed that Facebook accounts were the accounts most users were losing to hackers, with 67,940 hacking-related searches every month. 

Fellow social Meta platform Instagram took second place. The photo and video-sharing network saw 22,100 hacking-related searches. While in third place, music streaming platform Spotify was noticeably less at risk of being lost, with 7,210 searches every month. 

Other entries among the ten most targeted accounts included WhatsApp, with 5,120 searches, Snapchat, with 2,020 searches, and Twitter, with 2,230 searches. 

“The variety of platforms and their purposes on the top ten highlights how much all kinds of accounts are being targeted and how it is important to protect all your passwords as much as possible, a spokesperson from VPN Central said, commenting on the findings.

Data breach central 

Many of the accounts with the highest searches come from companies that have fallen victim to cyber-attacks and data breaches in recent years. 

Most hacked accounts
A list of the most targeted accounts by hackers. Source: VPN Central

Meta, which owns, Facebook Instagram and WhatsApp, was found to have broken multiple GDPR laws after an investigation into the April 2021 data breach concluded that the company had failed to protect the data of more than 530 million Facebook users

Due to the sheer amount of accounts exposed by the hackers, the company was forced to reduce a new hub on its Instagram app at the end of last year, providing gateways to retrieve access to their hacked accounts. 

The fourth most hacked in the UK according to the report, Meta’s WhatsApp messaging service has also been subject to cybercriminal activity.

In November last year, a threat actor began selling a 2022 database of 487 million WhatsApp mobile numbers from 84 countries. The hacker claimed there were over 32 million US user records included. 

The messaging service is often targeted by hackers attempting to spread large-scale phishing campaigns, seizing accounts to share campaigns with the friends and family of the hacked users. 

To read more about cyber attacks, visit our Business Agility Page. 

Like Meta’s many social platforms, Spotify has also fallen victim to data breaches leading to user info being accessed, though these breaches affected much fewer users than similar attacks on other users.  

But like is the case with many of the streaming sites on the list, Spotify users are more likely to share credentials on multiple online services, putting their accounts at further risk of being breached by hackers.

The UK population at increased risk of cybercrime

VPNCentral's findings come after a study by the National Cyber Security Centre found that nearly 23.2 million accounts breached by hackers used 123456 as their password. 

Britons in particular are at particularly high risk of falling victim to fraud, with almost half expecting to lose money to fraudsters within the next two years.

“We understand that cyber security can feel daunting to a lot of people, but the NCSC has published lots of easily applicable advice to make you much less vulnerable, Dr Ian Levy, NCSC Technical Director, explained. 

“Password re-use is a major risk that can be avoided - nobody should protect sensitive data with something that can be guessed, like their first name, local football team or favourite band."

Online social platforms and shopping websites were the single biggest source of fraudulent activity in terms of the number of cases in the UK, with 67,400 cases and £103 million stolen in 2020.

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