A new cyber security threat is looming in North America and it involves the Internet of Things, or IoT.

IoT is the connection of physical devices like home appliances and cars to the Internet and it’s emerging as the top new cyber security risk for 2015. 

It’s estimated 50 billion devices, from appliances to automobiles, will be connected to the Internet by 2020, leaving the devices vulnerable to attack.

"If those devices don't have effective security controls, a hacker can find a tunnel into that device and then use that to access anything that's connected to your home WiFi," said Gary Davis, Chief Consumer Security Evangelist with Intel Security.

That means your wireless thermostat can become a portal for enterprising hackers, and your wireless activity tracker can become a treasure trove of personal information used to steal your identity.

Samsung has come under fire for admitting its Smart TVs can record personal conversations and hackers have taken control of smart cars while they were being driven.

Even hospitals aren't immune to the problem.

"I see a huge problem in health care right now. There's a lot of medical devices that are being attacked," said Derek Manky, I.T. security expert with Fortinet.

Health care facilities are filled with IoT devices that can be easily hacked into.

"We actually demonstrated how we could take off the shelf antennaes and other technology and literally take total control of an insulin pump. We could turn it on, turn it off, we could change the dosage," said Davis.  

Web cams also ranked in the top five IoT devices facing attack.

"If someone wants to break into your house they can hire a hacker, so they can monitor the times your come into your house, when you leave your house," said Manky.  

It's estimated 35 million cyber-attacks take place around the globe every minute and McAfee security's 2015 threat report predicts “there will be a major attack in 2015 directly related to vulnerabilities in IoT devices."

There are a few simple things you can do to protect yourself from cybercrime.

  • Make sure you install security software on your mobile devices.
  • Always install the operating system updates for your smartphone which offers regular security patches
  • Enable lock and locate on your smartphone
  • Use a complex, high security password on your home Wi-Fi