Security is a myth. Metaverse too?

The Metaverse may very well not create new problems on the virtual playing field, but that doesn’t mean those problems aren’t worth investigating and addressing to the best of your ability. This is what Ayoub Abattouy, Distribution Manager BeNeLux, Nordics & Iberia at Acronis, writes in this blog.

In 2021, Facebook Inc. knew that it was going to change its globally recognized name to the new name “Meta” at the same time that it introduced its new virtual reality platform: Metaverse. Metaverse is a virtual reality playground where users can create virtual avatars of themselves and interact with others, all from the comfort of their home. The platform tracks eye movements, pupil dilation, body movements and other aspects to create an avatar that moves and behaves organically, while also gathering information about the user, whether they like it or not. .

Other companies have tried (unsuccessfully) to set up such virtual platforms before, but the road to success is fraught with obstacles that most developers seem unable to resolve. These include hurdles like creating a user-friendly interface that won’t frustrate the most erratic gamer, creating a product special enough to set it apart from other platforms, and generating enough processing power to handle a large user base and heavy workload. support. Meta was able to easily navigate those hurdles thanks to the company’s vast resources, but there’s one gargantuan hurdle Meta isn’t sure how to tackle yet: security.

Meta plans to spend $50 million on external research with a focus on improving security and privacy to try to address the various uncertainties within the platform with partners like the National University of Singapore using resources to investigate data usage.

But is that enough? Facebook (and it’s still the exact same company) has a notorious past and is loaded with the almost unavoidable infamy that can be expected from a social media platform with a whopping 2.9 billion unique users. That’s a history of fake news scandals, accusations of election rigging, and a host of security and privacy issues. Of course, the platform undoubtedly also has its positive aspects, as it offers users the opportunity to interact with their loved ones, with whom this would otherwise be hardly possible, and strengthens the bond between friends and acquaintances who , otherwise it would decline slowly but surely. So how do all these negatives and positives translate to the virtual Metaverse, where the interaction between individuals is much more personal?

But even outside of cybercrime, the Metaverse carries many risks, such as the fact that the platform requires 1,000 times more processing power than is currently needed to support the user base. Even with current user safety measures, children are still at risk of being targeted by sexual offenders, a problem that sadly affects all social media platforms that appeal to children. A Global Threat Assessment report on an online child sexual exploitation survey found that 34% of respondents reported being exposed to sexually explicit content online as a child that made them feel uncomfortable.

Furthermore, the so-called “skins” in these virtual worlds, in the form of different looks and other outfits that allow users to change their virtual appearance, become as valuable as tangible material objects, forming different virtual economies in various games, where children they are threatened who are not yet aware of the financial implications and children who are prone to gambling addiction.

The Metaverse may very well not bring any new issues to the virtual playing field, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth investigating the issues and addressing them to the best of your ability. With 3 billion regular participants, the gaming market is not going away and it is time for everyone to take seriously this threat to our safety and that of our children. Don’t just give your privacy away – it’s worth more than you think.

By Ayoub Abattouy BeNeLux Distribution Manager, Nordics and Iberia at Acronis

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