The Hertfordshire economy has lost £17.9 million to cybercrime in 2022 - making it the second most impacted region in the UK.

The figure was unveiled in study by information security and software firm Hicomply, which covers the period January to June this year.

Researchers used data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau to give each area a score out of ten for cybercrime impact - taking into account factors such as reported cybercrime, fraud and computer misuse offences.

Hertfordshire has the second-highest score in the country with 9.1 out of 10, behind Dorset with 9.2.

Surrey followed Hertfordshire with a score of 8.4.

Businesses and residents from Hertfordshire reported losses of £17.9m to cybercrime to police forces looking into cybersecurity.

Overall, UK police forces recorded 178,689 incidents in the first half of 2022, with country-wide losses of £1.7 billion.

Hicomply researchers concluded that the top three cybercrimes reported were social media and email hacking (8,600 reports), computer virus/malware/spyware (3,100 reports) and personal hacking (2,700 reports).

Hicomply's chief operations officer, Marius van Aswegen, said: "One of the most obvious ways we can stop successful cybercrime attempts is by recognising the signs of an attack.

"The data shows that hacking is one of the most widespread cybercrimes we face in the UK.

“Phishing, which is a method of tricking the target into revealing sensitive or personal information, is one common method cybercriminals use to maliciously gain access to data.

"Make sure to learn the signs to look out for so you can identify fake emails and text messages.

"For organisations, it’s important to invest in regular staff training and awareness.”

According to Hicomply, signs that a message or email may not be legitimate include:

  • The message coming from email address or mobile number that doesn’t match that of the real sender, for example, if a Gmail address is used to send you an email about your bank account
  • The message including spelling or grammatical errors
  • The message including an urgent call to action with ‘serious’ consequences if you don’t act immediately
  • The message asks the recipient to click on a link that doesn’t match the domain of the real organisation or sender.