A recent report from The European Police Office (Europol) says that the world's first recorded 'cyber murder' is likely to happen before 2014 is out. The risk comes mainly from hackers breaking in to critical safety and health equipment linked to the Internet of Things (IoT).
As more and more devices get connected to the internet they become open to remote hacking. Hackers may target these connected devices for purposes of either monetary gain or to inflict personal harm suggests Russia Today. Internet connected medical devices may be the source of the first IoT murder, it is thought. There are numerous medical devices which could seriously harm the user if they worked incorrectly; heart implants and insulin pumps are mentioned specifically.
However connected devices that could potentially lethally injure people aren't limited to medical devices. Web connected homes and cars could also prove vulnerable to hacks and your personal safety. With the growing number of smart devices, Europol believes that their exploitation by criminals is becoming inevitable.
The Independent cites a couple of examples of hacking into connected devices causing problems. It reports that up to 300 monitors used for high-risk pregnancies in US hospitals had slowed down because of malware. In another example a Texas couple complained that their smart baby monitor was hacked and abuse shouted through the speakers. The Independent also notes that former US vice-president Dick Cheney had the wireless network connectivity of his implanted defibrillator disabled due to safety concerns.
There's currently over 10 billion internet enabled devices and that number is set to skyrocket as the IoT device trend picks up momentum. Europol held a conference last week about how European police agencies could combat cybercrime together. It identified prevention, information exchange, investigation and capacity building as key elements to a unified plan.