The Metaverse : What are the key cyber-security risks ?
In a departure from our usual cloud security and artificial intelligence series , I thought it would be a good idea to focus on something that is going to affect all of us in a couple of years which is the upcoming MetaVerse. It was almost impossible to ignore the Metaverse in 2021 with Facebook’s announcement that it was investing billions of dollars into it to the extent of even changing its name ! I thought it would be fun to make some predictions on the future of cyber-security when it comes to the MetaVerse .. so disclaimer the Metaverse is still very much in a conceptual phaser right now so this is all theoretical but maybe 3 or 5 years from now it should be interesting to take a look at how accurate we were .. so lets move ahead
What is the Metaverse exactly ?
It is amazing that given the amount of stuff that has been said about the Metaverse that it is still something people struggle to explain apart from vague “hype-y” statements like its the next evolution of the internet or social media etc.
The metaverse can be defined as a simulated digital environment that uses augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and blockchain, along with concepts from social media, to create spaces for rich user interaction mimicking the real world.
One thing I want to make clear is that Metaverses have already existed for decades ! If you have played World of WarCraft then congrats you are already a metaverse user. The only thing that is going to change is the level of immersion and how much it is going t o integratee into our daily lives. Global events like the pandemic have really accelerated the metaverse adoption and there is no stopping it now.
My top Metaverse cyber-security predictions
So in no particular order the below are the areas which I believe are going to become issues in the Metaverse . Like I mentioned earlier the metaverse is still being developed so I could be wrong in nearly all of these but it should be interesting to take a look back in a few years and see how right ( or wrong ! ) I was ..
- VR Headset security will be top priority : VR Headsets will be the entry into the metaverse allowing you full immersion and interactivity. But these could also allow attackers to eavesdrop of piggyback onto your meta-world if controls are not put in place. VR Headsets also identity you but no authentication is present currently. There have already been vulnerabilities proven that allow attackers to exfiltrate sensitive information from your headsets so the security of headsets will become paramount importance. We might see biometric authentication become a standard feature of these devices in the future
- Digital avatars spoofing : As digital avatars become more and more common , we will see metaverse meetings replace zoom meetings in the future. However with avatars replacing video calls , it might become difficult to ascertain the identity of the people in the virtual room . Cyber-criminals could potentially compromise a meeting room and “assume” the identity of a person attending the same leading to information leakage. Or attackers could potentially bypass meeting controls and make their avatars invisible to the meeting participants allowing them to exfiltrate information.
- Metaverse scams due to lack of regulation : The metaverse is poised to become a huge economic engine with 1000s of jobs being created. It was impossible this year not to hear about Non-fungible tokens with everyone and his mother trying to jump onto the NFT bandwagon. Additionally banking and commerce will take place within the metaverse leading to ample opportunities for cyber-crime. The metaverse is currently a largely unregulated space which makes it attractive and a potential nightmare if you are a victim. You will not find legal re-course if you get scammed out of your cryptocurrency due to a scam. Already there have been numerous reports of people getting scammed out of their NFTs and bitcoin wallets and you will only see this going up in the metaverse.
Future of cyber-security in the MetaVerse
The future of cyber-security in the metaverse will be interesting to say the least ! AS cyber-criminals evolve to take advantage of the metaverse we should be ready for a new influx of attacks and breaches in the coming years.
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