Seventy percent of people searching “hack” on Google want to know how to hack into someone’s Meta accounts (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp), according to a new study by NordVPN.
Researchers looked into the most popular searches that include the word “hack” on Google. In total, they analyzed almost 2 million searches from 50 countries, both in English and the local language. Seventy percent of them (1,387,020) included Meta’s social media platforms.
“How to hack Facebook” is an entry-level search done by someone with little to no idea where to start. But other popular related searches include the names of specific tools people use for this purpose, showing that they are performing multiple searches to refine their knowledge before starting their attack, said Adrianus Warmenhoven, cybersecurity expert at NordVPN.
“It is not those amateur hackers who try to Google hacking methods that we should be cautious about. But we should learn how to protect ourselves from real hackers because cybercrime is rising by 30 percent every year,” he said. “However harmless these searches may look, they may end up breaching someone’s privacy. A person may get control over their ex-partner’s social media account, or a business owner may disrupt their competitor’s operations, not to mention that many hackers remember starting their ‘careers’ from those Google searches.”
According to several studies, around 15% of all social media users have dealt with unauthorized activity on their social media accounts. This corresponds with the newest survey conducted by NordVPN, which showed that 9 in 10 know at least one person who had their social media accounts hacked.
The top 10 countries with the biggest amount of queries are: India, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Philippines, U.S., Nigeria, Indonesia, South Africa, and France.
The clearest factor tying the countries generating these queries together is the number of Facebook, Instagram, or WhatsApp users. India has the most users in all three platforms, so it makes sense that people in India are the most interested in hacking them.
Another factor that may increase the number of queries in countries like Mexico, Argentina, and the Philippines is lower GDP relative to Western countries. In the absence of other economic opportunities, some internet users may see cybercrime as a worthwhile endeavor.
Finally, countries like Russia and China are known for having active hacker communities with high levels of technical expertise, but these countries are absent from this list. The queries selected by researchers reflect “entry-level” knowledge. This suggests that the regions showing up in these trends have large communities of beginner or amateur hackers.
To view the complete study, visit https://nordvpn.com/blog/first-time-hackers/.