Cybersecurity: the hidden face of the metaverse

The enthusiasm behind the metaverse is far from running out of steam. According to a recent report, the opportunities offered by the metaverse could potentially reach more than $1 trillion. However, as we know, with every technological innovation comes a host of cyber security challenges. And the metaverse is no exception.

Simply put, the metaverse is a virtual, web-based world where you can interact in an immersive three-dimensional space. It is possible to choose an avatar and literally live a parallel life – with a home, a family, a business and even a job. In short, the metaverse is not a single entity, but brings together technologies such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), industrial control systems (IIoT) and blockchain.

These diverse technologies are beginning to integrate and align the physical realm with the digital persona, opening multiple avenues for cybercriminals to target individuals, businesses and communities. Experts agree that cybercrime, which will cost businesses $10 trillion a year by 2025, will only grow with the adoption of the metaverse.

Lack of regulation

A user’s identity in the metaverse is closely tied to their crypto wallet, which contains collections as well as real and virtual currencies. Although a cryptocurrency wallet is not usually hacked when the user enters the metaverse experiences (just as a person’s credit card is not always hacked every time it is used), it is not impossible for a cyber attacker to be able to find the true identity of the holder. of the wallet and delete it.

The lack of regulation means that there is no way for a user to approach a regulatory authority. Therefore the platform is responsible for protecting the user. The lack of legal guidelines also means that platforms and owners have a moral obligation to take care.

identity theft

Our identity in the metaverse is like a digital avatar created and developed by us, which is supposed to be secure and unique to associate personally identifiable information (PII) with it and make purchases in the metaverse. If a cyber attacker gains access to an avatar, he not only has access to financial data, but also to an individual’s entire identity. If he chooses to impersonate a consumer, identity theft of this nature can lead to unprecedented problems.

Biometric hacks

Similarly, the use of augmented and virtual reality has its drawbacks. VR headsets and haptic gloves are one of the many gateways to the metaverse. Today, no privacy regulations cover these devices, which makes them extremely vulnerable. A hacker who gains access to it can easily use biometric data – namely iris and fingerprints – and access highly sensitive data. Regulators in our real world must hold owners accountable for these leaks because they are the source of the most compromised data. The metaverse is only in its infancy. We will surely face the same challenges as those encountered at the dawn of Web 2.

Zero trust to secure the Metaverse

The security perspective emphasizes Zero Trust to lay the first foundation of the metaverse and build applications on top of it. Since many technologies are mobilized with different protocols when creating digital avatars, it is essential to have some controls that manage and constantly verify their actions. The maturity of machine learning and artificial intelligence will help reduce cybercrime related to metaverse protocols. These technologies will create a secure infrastructure for all interactions between different metaverses.

As the Web 3 experience evolves, organizations must consider a component-by-component approach to providing the user experience in the metaverse, such as

• Adding layers of abstraction between users’ metaverse identity and corresponding cryptocurrency wallets;

• Context-based authentication and strong credential management;

• Software nomenclature (SBOM), software composition analysis (SCA) and vulnerability analysis of proprietary and open source objects;

• A secure cloud infrastructure and permanent governance;

• Provision of data at rest, data in transit and data in use;

• Secure Service Access Edge (SASE), IP security and continuous improvement of the Zero Trust policy for a mature security infrastructure;

• Continuous monitoring, threat detection and automated response infrastructure.

To summarize, as the metaverse continues to grow, let’s keep in mind that the Internet has evolved with the same questions. However, we are more seasoned than before. Therefore, cyber security should be an integral part of the approval process. Metaverse should also rely on a “Security by Design” approach.

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