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Hackers looking to milk personal details through fridges and other internet-linked home devices

Modern appliances that are now equipped with extra internet-linked devices are a target for hackers. Credit: AP

Consumers must be warned of the potential cyber threat from household devices like fridges and TVs that connect to the internet, a leading police officer has said.

Mike Barton, the national policing lead for crime operations, said security ratings must to be applied to the internet-ready appliances and gadgets he warned are being targeted by hackers.

"It's not just how many yoghurts you are eating that is at risk," the Durham chief constable said.

"It's that your internet of things are all plugged into the same network. That is a back door into your network."

Fitness trackers were among items listed as a target for cyber criminals seeking personal data. Credit: AP

Earlier this year a report warned smart phones, watches and fitness trackers could be targeted by cyber criminals seeking personal data.

Baby monitors and even pacemakers are similarly potentially vulnerable to hacking.

21bn
The estimated number of global internet-connected consumer devices by 2020.

Mr Barton said security information is now "the most significant component" of the household device or product but is "just not reported".

"Whenever you go into a store now you see fridges and it's A down to F in terms of its energy efficiency. Where are the security ratings?" he said.

Modern kitchens are filled with linked devices that seek to streamline homes. Credit: PA

Mr Barton has called on the industry to devise a suitable rating system before it is too late.

"I don't want to look back and be accused of not actually waving a flag to say we should be doing more," he said.

"We are in the foothills of the internet of things, it is easier now to create something like this than it will be in 10 years' time when there would be tens of millions of products."