Security Risks in the Metaverse


Metaverse is everywhere nowadays.

Mark Zuckerberg can’t stop talking about it. Gartner listed it as one of the top 5 emerging trends for 2022. And Forbes predicts that AR/VR spending will increase to $72.8 billion in 2024, due to the popularity of the Metaverse.

Because of this, leaders in industries diverse as gaming, healthcare, and crypto are looking to the Metaverse for new opportunities. But with all this excitement, there’s one thing that’s often overlooked: security risks.

The Metaverse is still in its infancy, and as such, it’s ripe for exploitation by cybercriminals. In this article, we’ll take a look at three of the top security risks in the Metaverse, and what can be done to mitigate them.

But first…

Let’s start with a quick definition. The Metaverse is a shared, virtual space where people can meet, interact and do business. It’s a bit like the internet, but instead of being made up of websites, the Metaverse is made up of 3D virtual worlds.

Think Second Life or GTA Online but on steroids.

The term was originally coined by science fiction writer Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel Snow Crash and has been popularized in recent years by figures like Mark Zuckerberg and Oculus founder Palmer Luckey.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s see why security is so important in the Metaverse.

Why Is Security So Important in the Metaverse?

As the Metaverse grows in popularity, more and more sensitive data will be shared in virtual environments. That could include everything from medical records and financial information to trade secrets and state secrets.

Because of this, it’s important to ensure that the Metaverse is secure. Otherwise, we risk opening up a whole new avenue for cybercrime.

Now that we’ve established why security is important, let’s take a look at three of the top cyber security risks in the Metaverse.

The first security risk we need to discuss involves invisible eavesdropping that has potentially dire consequences.

In the physical world, it’s relatively easy to tell if you’re being spied on. You might see a camera in the corner of the room or someone hiding in the bushes outside your house. But in the Metaverse, it’s much harder to tell if you’re being spied on.

According to researchers from the University of Washington, the immersive nature of AR and VR technology may create new opportunities for adversarial apps to record and replay a user’s every move without their knowledge.

This type of spyware could be used for anything from identity theft to corporate espionage.

In the physical world, identity theft is a huge problem. Just last year, consumers reported a record $5.8 billion in losses due to identity theft and fraud.

And chances are, things are only going to get worse as we move into the Metaverse. That’s because the Metaverse will be built on top of existing social media platforms, which are already struggling to protect users’ data.

In 2018, for example, Facebook was hit with a massive data breach that affected over 50 million users. With Facebook and other social media companies working on Metaverse projects, it’s likely that we’ll see similar breaches in the virtual world.

Finally, we need to discuss data privacy.

As the Metaverse grows, so too will the amount of data that’s shared in virtual environments. And as we’ve seen with companies like Facebook and Google, it can be very difficult to keep this data private.

In recent years, hackers have started using IoT (Internet of Things) devices to launch attacks and steal data. AR and VR devices will collect large amounts of user data, like biometric information, which could be used to identify and track individuals.

Image Source: Pexels

What Can Be Done to Increase Security?

So, what can be done to increase security in the Metaverse?

There are a few things that need to be done:

First, we need to raise awareness about the importance of security in the Metaverse. Second, we need to create better security protocols and policies. And third, we need to make sure that these security measures are enforceable.

By taking these steps, we can help ensure that the Metaverse is a safe and secure place for everyone.

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