New research has revealed that smart buildings could be particularly vulnerable to cyber attack and may become more of a target for criminals in the coming years.
A study by Kaspersky on 40,000 smart buildings - which rely on Internet of Things devices to control operations such as heating, ventilation and water - found 37.8 per cent had been affected by a malicious cyber attack during the first six months of 2019 alone.
The highest incidence rate was discovered to be in Italy with 48.5 per cent of all smart buildings targeted, but the UK also scored particularly highly at 44.4 per cent.
In most cases, ordinary malware such as worms, phishing emails and ransomware was found to be the culprit.
Security researcher at Kaspersky Kirill Kruglov warned that with computers now controlling many hospitals, shopping centres and businesses, the list of scenarios should they be targeted is frightening.
He urged IT administrators to be vigilant for signs that smart buildings have been compromised and recommended investing in security systems for added protection.
"Even a basic solution will provide benefits and defend the organisation against potentially crippling attacks," the expert concluded.
Many local councils in Britain are currently investigating making their buildings smart in a bid to lower operating costs and cut emissions, so this may be advice they need to take on board soon.