London Has The Highest Cybercrime Rate In The United Kingdom With Over 5,000 Incidents In 2021

A new study from cybersecurity specialists ESET reveals the UK areas that saw the highest rates of cybercrime in 2021. The study found that there has been a very small decrease in the number of cybercrimes reported in December 2021, compared to January 2021.

ESET, a global leader in cybersecurity has conducted a study into the state of cybercrime in the United Kingdom, looking at which areas have seen the highest number of cybercrimes committed as well as the most common cybercrimes committed.

The UK has seen a slight decrease of 2.97% in the number of cybercrimes committed in 2021. London was the area that saw the highest number of cybercrimes committed.

Areas with the highest rates of cybercrime per 100,000 people

RankPolice forceTotal cybercrime reports in 2021Cyber Crimes per 100,000 peoplePercentage change from 2020
1Metropolitan (London)5,25858.5-11.8%
2Surrey64453.7-8.1%
3Kent99953.5-9.0%
4Northamptonshire39952.7-0.2%
5Hertfordshire60750.8-19.4%

When looking at total cybercrime reports in 2021, it is no surprise to see London out in front with over 5,000 reports. The capital was followed by the West Midlands (1,242) and Thames Valley (1,142). Cumbria was the area that saw the smallest amount of cybercrimes committed with 174 reported in 2021, it was followed by Cleveland (194) and Dyfed-Powys (213).

Looking at the data from the report, we can see clearly that the country’s wealthiest areas of the country are the most heavily targeted for cybercrime. The top 7 most targeted areas fall within the top 10 wealthiest counties by GVA (Gross Value Added) per capita, and the 5 of the top 10 most targeted areas rank within the top 10 wealthiest counties by GRP per capita. While this is not unexpected, it shows clearly that the cyber criminals are taking aim at the bigger fish in the pond.

Areas with the biggest decrease in cybercrime

RankPolice forceTotal cybercrime reports in 2020Total number of Cyber Crimes 2021Percentage change from 2020
1Gloucestershire320219-31.56%
2Northumbria686470-31.49%
3Wiltshire425295-30.59%

There were only three areas in our research that saw an increase in cybercrime reports, Norfolk saw the biggest increase by 19.83%, Nottinghamshire (0.52%) and Northamptonshire (0.25%) followed.

The most common types of cybercrime in the UK

RankType of cybercrimeTotal number of cybercrimes in 2021Percentage of total Cyber CrimesPercentage change from 2020
1Hacking (social media and email)13,52253.1%-12.0%
2Computer virus / malware / spyware7,15628.0%-11.7%
3Hacking (personal)5,32519.3%-4.6%
4Hacking (extortion)2,30010.9%-26.8%
5Hacking (server)3311.2%-8.1%

Cybercrimes categorised as hacking made up 85% of the total reported cybercrimes, a 10% increase year on year.

Jake Moore, a Cybersecurity Specialist for ESET, commented on the findings:

“Knowledge is the key to reducing cybercrime and with this noticeable shift in offences reported year on year, it is starting to suggest that people are becoming more savvy at spotting scams and keeping their wits about them. Social media and email hacking, however, remains the biggest threat across the country so people need to remember to implement basic security measures to combat hacking with password managers and turning on multi factor authentication for all online accounts.”

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