"All new technologies, all changes in the way that society is ordered -- particularly if it is technology -- always has a crime harvest. So, when cars were invented, people started drink-driving and stealing cars and it's exactly the same with the Internet of Things," said chief constable Michael Barton, head of the Durham Constabulary.
"The issue here is not they are being stolen, but that they are being used as the mechanism by which people can commit crime," said Barton, interviewed in a new report on Internet of Things security by F-Secure.
There are many examples of security vulnerabilities in IoT devices providing opportunities for hackers to break into systems, ranging from children's toys to industrial control systems. The race by companies to be the first to market with IoT products often means they fail to implement even basic security measures in their products.
As IoT devices are connected to a home or corporate network, they can easily provide a pathway for hackers to gain access to other systems and personal data.
"If your fridge is connected up to your local supermarket so that it can order things when they are needed, then it's going to be connected to your bank account and it's that, that is the worry. That all of these devices, none of which are seen as that threatening or that necessary to protect, become the open back door," said Barton.
IoT devices are already common and soon it's likely almost every household device may be internet-connected by default -- because, for many of the companies building IoT products, the more data they can collect, the better, especially when embedding chips into objects is cheap.
"Eventually, almost every household device will be online, and they will largely be invisible to the end user as a smart device. They will look like dumb devices, but they will be smart devices. However, they won't offer any features to the consumer because the real reason for them to be online will be for them to report analytics to the company that built the device," said Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at F-Secure.
"You can't sell toys with pins in them so that children are blinded. You can't sell cars where the brakes work intermittently. Nor should you be able to sell something on the IoT that allows people's bank accounts to be emptied," said Barton.