A HACKING trend prompted cyber security experts to encourage people to increase their online security.

In some cases, criminals upload IIOC (Indecent Images of Children) to businesses' and individuals' Facebook accounts, resulting in the account being removed by Facebook.

Northumbria Police specialist cyber protect and prepare officer, Maria Bartley, said reports like this are mostly linked to Facebook but can happen on any platform.

“If you are ever asked to input login usernames and passwords, please ask yourself whether has come from a genuine source – often using social media applications rather than web browsers adds an extra layer of security and reassurance.

READ MORE: 25-year-old accused of attempting to engage in sexual communication with child

“If you are sent unexpected messages requesting you to verify your details by clicking on a link or if you are ever asked to send a code you’ve received to someone – don’t, as this is likely to be a one-time passcode for your account that the hacker is trying to scam you into sending them so they can take control of your account."

Maria suggested ensuring passwords are updated, ensuring they're different for each site or application.

Use a combination of three random words comprising lower, uppercase letters and symbols.

"Doing this will make it harder for the hackers to guess or hack. Most web browsers will offer to store your online passwords and it is safe to do this. You can also use a standalone password manager."

She advised people to turn on two-factor authentication (2FA) for social media accounts and update device software.

If your account has been hacked or know anyone whose account was hacked in this way, report via Action Fraud on Northumbria Police's website, or call 03001232040.