The world's first death caused by the Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to occur before the end of the year, according to a report by The European Police Office (Europol).
The greatest risk is likely to come from hackers targeting crucial health and safety equipment as more and more devices become susceptible to remote hacking.
As an increasing number of devices become connected, hackers may begin selecting targets based on monetary gain or inflicting personal harm. According to Russia Today, Internet connected medical devices are predicted to be the source of the first IoT murder, with heart implants, insulin pumps and numerous other devices susceptible.
Outside of medical devices, web connected homes and cars could also prove a threat to the user's personal safety if hacked. Europol has claimed that such an attack is becoming inevitable, with reports of IoT vulnerabilities already surfacing.
The Independent claims that as many as 300 monitors used to analyse high-risk pregnancies in the US have been slowed down due to malware. Former US vice-president Dick Cheney also disabled the wireless connectivity of his implanted defibrillator as a result of health concerns.
While a relatively small part of the technology industry, the Internet of Things market is expected to experience massive growth over the next few years. There are currently 10 billion Internet-enabled devices in existence, with smart home appliances such as the Nest thermostat currently among the most popular.
As the number of connected devices grows, the potential for crime also increases. Last week, Europol held a conference investigating the key policies that European police agencies could implement to combat this new form of cybercrime.