AS part of Cyber Security Awareness Month this October, Devon & Cornwall Police are encouraging the public to turn on two-step verification for their email and social media accounts.

Email and social media account hacking is the most reported cyber-dependent crime in the UK. Nationally, a staggering 18,000 people reported their accounts hacked in the 2021/22 financial year, with many more going unreported.

Two-step verification (2SV) is a way of adding an extra layer of security to your important accounts. Also known as two-factor authentication (2FA) and multi-factor authentication (MFA), it is a way of 'double checking' that you really are the person you are claiming to be when you're using online services. Typically, users will need to enter an additional code that is sent via text message or through an authentication app.

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre recommends that people set up this extra level of security on their 'important' accounts- accounts that protect things and information that you really care about and would cause the most harm to you if the passwords were stolen.

Cyber Protect Officer Steve Shepherd from Devon & Cornwall Police said: “Even if criminals know your password, turning on 2SV can keep them out of your account. Criminals can be very convincing, but you should never give out your codes.”

No one age group is more likely to targeted by cyber criminals. To help everyone in Devon and Cornwall, the Cyber Protect team offer free events to businesses, charities, organisations, and community groups. The sessions are tailored to each group and can be held online or in person.

Steve continued: “Cyber Protect sessions offer impartial advice and guidance about common cyber threats like phishing, malware, and email scams, as well as providing advice on how you can keep your online accounts safe. “

If you are interested in booking a cyber awareness session for you, your business or community group, please visit the Devon & Cornwall Police website:

For more information about protecting your accounts, visit the National Cyber Security Centre’s Cyber Aware website: