Internet fragmentation, metaverse, security assurance: Kaspersky shares its privacy predictions for 2023

Internet fragmentation, metaverse, security assurance: Kaspersky shares its privacy predictions for 2023

In 2023, we will see the emergence of an increasingly diverse market for online behavioral tracking services driven by local law enforcement. Documents on smartphones will take over traditional media and the concept of the metaverse will gradually enter our daily lives. All these trends will contribute to increasing the security requirements of various devices and technologies. These predictions are taken from Kaspersky’s 2023 Privacy report.

This year has seen a proliferation of privacy regulations for businesses and the private sector. Among these measures, some aim to regulate commercial surveillance and data security practices that harm consumers, or enact machine learning laws to further protect sensitive data. Despite these precautions, privacy issues will multiply due to current geopolitical and economic conjectures.

These predictions were developed based on the changes and trends observed by Kaspersky’s privacy experts during 2022. According to the researchers, the deadlock between the various stakeholders from the issues of privacy protection and data collection will result in the following trends:

1. The fragmentation of the Internet will lead to the diversification (and localization) of the market for behavioral tracking tools and to increased controls regarding cross-border data transfers. Most websites are full of invisible trackers that collect behavioral data, which is then aggregated and used specifically to deliver targeted advertising. While there are a number of different companies in the targeted advertising space, US-based tech giants like Meta, Amazon and Google are the undisputed leaders. However, in many regions, authorities are reluctant to share local data with foreign companies. As a result, companies are driven to favor local actors, which may have different consequences for data protection. While big tech companies spend more on their security than smaller ones, data breaches can still happen there. While a smaller organization is less attractive to hackers, it is also less scrutinized by regulators.

2. Documents on smartphones will increasingly replace paper media. Today, smartphones are widely used as a payment method, making the traditionally used debit and credit cards obsolete in some countries. Smartphones can be used for medical purposes, as has been the case with the COVID vaccine permit, or as a means of identification, like a digitized version of an ID card. Scanning such documents is certainly convenient, but carries risks. A well-designed system can facilitate day-to-day verification processes, for example, without the need to reveal personal details such as the user’s name or address to the verifying officer. But using the smartphone to store an increasing amount of personal data makes it a single point of failure, which raises serious security issues. Therefore, the security of mobile devices and the way data is stored in them while meeting privacy requirements must meet many requirements.

3. Companies will combat human error in cybersecurity to curb insider trading and social engineering to protect user data. As organizations deploy increasingly comprehensive cybersecurity measures, including endpoint protection, enhanced detection and response (XDR) solutions, and proactive threat hunting, the human factor remains the weak link. Misconfigurations of various cloud computing solutions for data storage should result in fewer data leaks, but an increasing number of breaches will result from human error. To limit the impact of the human factor, companies can invest in data leak prevention solutions and in-depth employee training to increase their cyber security awareness.

4. Privacy issues in the metaverse will raise more and more concerns, (but make no mistake, with smartphones and IoT, the metaverse is already a reality). The amount of data people generate just by making cashless payments and carrying cellphones in their pockets all day is enough to draw some disturbing conclusions. Smart home devices, smart cities equipped with video surveillance, cars with multiple cameras, democratization of IoT devices, digitization of services, etc. make privacy a relic of the past. If the metaverse promises to transpose real experiences online, the digital has already largely taken over the physical world.

5. Concerned about data leaks, users insure against them. Using the tools available to us in today’s society comes at a cost to privacy. Order a meal, use a ride-sharing service, etc. are activities that generate, at least, sensitive geographic data. However, privacy awareness is growing and people are starting to take preventative measures to secure their personal accounts and minimize their digital footprint. One way to do this could be data breach insurance. While there are already services that recover losses in the event of identity theft, it is expected that a wider range of insurance offers will appear on the market in the future.

“In 2022, regulatory activities have shifted the global data market towards local players. At the same time, this year has been rich with events that show how the collection of user data can have a direct impact on the relationship between citizens and their governments. We cannot deny that topics such as the metaverse, AI or machine learning will remain at the center of attention of privacy experts in 2023. However, we believe that the geopolitical and economic events of 2022, as well as new trends technology, will be the main factors influencing the privacy landscape in 2023,” comments Vladislav Tushkanov, privacy expert at Kaspersky.

These predictions come from the Kaspersky Security Bulletin (KSB), an annual series of forecasts and analytical reports on key changes in the world of cyber security. Go here to see other KSB articles from this year.

To learn more about privacy online and in social networks, Kaspersky recommends using the Privacy Checker, a simple tool that describes every setting of a given social network and offers advice on how to configure it for different levels of privacy in different platforms. Privacy Checker is not limited to social networks and can also help users configure their operating system for better privacy.

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