A vast majority of security professionals and experts who attended the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas predict that nation-states will target smart devices in the next year, according to a survey.

Ninety-three percent of respondents told Armis, a security platform, that they expected governments to exploit connected devices during a hack or cyberattack. Twenty-three percent of respondents said that the energy and utility sector were most at risk of being attacked through smart devices, the survey found.

Hackers are using connected devices as intermediaries to attack computer networks, the FBI warned Aug. 2. Examples of previous hacks using smart devices include an attack on a Las Vegas casino through the thermometer of an aquarium.

Experts have warned that manufacturers of smart devices need to impose minimum security standards on their products in the face of growing cyberattacks.

Waiting for the U.S. government to standardize smart device protections could complicate matters, as federal oversight is spread across at least 11 different federal agencies, according to a 2017 Government Accountability Office report.

“As new and more ‘things’ become connected, they increase not only the opportunities for security and privacy breaches, but also the scale and scope of any resulting consequences,” the report said.

Justin Lynch is the Associate Editor at Fifth Domain. He has written for the New Yorker, the Associated Press, Foreign Policy, the Atlantic, and others. Follow him on Twitter @just1nlynch.

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