By Ian Bush

By technology editor Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — From cars to thermostats to ovens, it’s becoming tougher to find things that aren’t connected to the Internet.

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That has prompted a security firm to issue a dire prediction: the first “murder by hacking” will happen before the end of the year.

It sounds like something ripped from the tabloids, but Paul Ferguson, with IID, based in Washington state, says the concept is not farfetched.

“The more and more connectedness that we rush into headlong, the more and more chance we have of something happening — whether it’s premeditated or planned or completely unintentional — that actually could lead to someone’s death,” he tells KYW Newsradio.

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Ferguson heads the threat intelligence division of the firm, where he says they’ve seen proof that connected cars can be stopped dead in their tracks by a computer criminal.  So, could a person’s death be caused by malicious control of an automobile, or an appliance, or a medical device?

Ferguson also warns that we’re volunteering personal information, such as with health-tracking wearable devices and apps.

“Not just bad guys but also corporations are using our privacy data to feed us advertisements,” Ferguson notes.  “We don’t have any guarantees on who has the data and how it’s being used.”

Ferguson says he’s not throwing a wet blanket on innovation; he just wants companies and the rest of us to put security first.

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