The Metaverse is already here and is deemed the next iteration of the internet. Facebook’s Virtual Labs division offers virtual reality headsets, which from 2022 will also include early-stage mixed reality with face and eye-tracking technology. The intimate nature of the Metaverse will provide ample opportunities for cybercriminals.
A long list of companies including Alphabet, Microsoft, and Apple are planning to join the metaverse race. Several innovative start-up companies have been exploring the area in recent times, and sooner than later, the virtual world will become a reality for more and more people. Analysts believe there will be a significant amount of activity in the area starting in 2022. The Metaverse will transform how people interact and bring their digital and physical lives together in unprecedented ways. This will create not only new businesses but also reshape traditional businesses. However, the intricate nature of the Metaverse and the data it creates will also provide ample opportunities for cybercriminals.
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The ‘Metaverse’ poses vast security risks
Experts believe that some of the cybersecurity challenges with the metaverse will be similar to what we are already accustomed to online. The steady increase in cybercrime over the past 18-24 months has shown how profitable it can be to hack someone’s company or online accounts. But, in addition to the common crime of identity theft, malware, and cybercrime, metaverse will enable an utterly new cybercrime due to its infrastructure.
The main problem with metaverse is its dependence on hardware for enabling the audio functions for virtual conversations. Metaverse focuses on external digital devices such as VR headsets that can easily fall victim to criminals if left unprotected. For example, the data captured by these headsets, or other wearable devices introduced in the future, can be susceptible. And this could be an opportunity for bad players.
Another interesting note is that as the metaverse focuses on using cryptocurrencies and NFTs, this could be an attractive target for cybercriminals. For example, art pieces are certified and digitally tracked through inclusion in the social blockchain manual. But, as in the real world of art, collectors can easily be manipulated by cybercriminals portrayed as legitimate witnesses to the facts.
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Keeping cybercrime out of the Metaverse
As technology emerges, metaverse will be built based on more powerful, intelligent, and interconnected contracts, which combine physical and virtual worlds to make it more coherent. Risk and safety management will emerge as a priority for CXOs, who will need to focus on identifying, managing, and risk reduction in all activities in their organization. It will be necessary for CXOs and boards to use contracts as business vehicles to understand their legal, commercial, operational, reputation, location, and political risks in real-time.
Increased internet control is another way to protect metaverse. Widespread control of the internet by government agencies in the future is not possible as it will raise the question of ethics because the internet is always one of the last bastions for free speech and information. One area that needs proper attention is that the metaverse is still a vague term for many of us and requires further clarification regarding security and privacy issues. Therefore, education and awareness are the most effective ways to keep people and businesses safe online. Understanding the dangers of online work and using appropriate online security resources to protect the organization is the key to staying safe and secure online in this new digital age.
With solid investments from large companies and advanced work done by beginners, metaverse will certainly survive and even be a path breaker technology. It is time for CXOs to reconsider their potential role in an interconnected world.
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