Police warn of hacking threat via our online fridges and kettles as fears are raised over the ‘internet of things’

Household appliances which connect to the internet will increasingly be hacked by criminals seeking to steal your identity, rob your home or bank accounts, a police chief has warned.

Durham chief constable Mike Barton warned about the danger of the ‘internet of things’ as more ordinary household items such as fridges, kettles and televisions become internet enabled.

But householders have no assurances about how easy they are to hack.

The top officer who leads the National Police Chiefs Council on crime operations said consumers had no idea about the security of apps that remotely switch on and off lights, music or heating, which can be hacked to determine if you are home and to gain access into your internet server.

Mr Barton said customers should be given the information on internet enabled products in the same way as they can check the energy efficiency of appliances before purchasing them.

He proposed a national security ratings system in a bid to thwart fraudsters as cheats on how to hack connected appliances have already started springing up across the dark web.

Analysts have forecast that by 2020 there will be as many as 21 billion connected devices used by businesses and consumers around the world.

The surge in the number and variety of internet-ready products has sparked a string of security warnings.

Earlier this year, an official report warned that smart phones, watches, televisions, and fitness trackers could be targeted by cyber criminals seeking to hold users to ransom over their personal data.

There have also been suggestions that baby monitors and pacemakers could be vulnerable to hacking.

Mr Barton said it was a ‘worrying development’, adding that cyber criminals would not ‘invade’ a fridge to find out what its contents were.


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