- The metaverse is an alternative to our real world, siding many limitations. Factors such as geographic distance or the hindrances of real, living bodies are not constraints in the virtual world.
- It is estimated that more than USD 14 billion in cryptocurrencies was lost due to scams and fraudsters last year.
Imagine, a new restaurant has just opened down your street! The first thing you would do is to check the reviews online. Or for that matter, you also visit an online retailer to purchase a gift for your friend. And, you may not as well feel that your online world is changing. Chances are also that the digital status quo will never be the status quo for much longer.
What is creating such seismic shifts in the world of commerce and technology, and should it concern you?
The word “Metaverse” has been a buzzword in the tech world, and you’ve probably come across the term yourself. Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, recently renamed the social media platform ‘Meta’ and it’s been making headlines since then.
Understanding the Metaverse
The Metaverse is the latest version of the internet that uses Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) to deliver a fully immersive digital world experience. In other words, a version for the web in which “you” are represented by an avatar that you create online. And while you’re here, you may work, play, learn, and socialize with your friends while having the experience of being present in the digital world.
The Metaverse is an alternative to our real world, siding many limitations. Factors such as geographic distance or the hindrances of real, living bodies are not constraints in the virtual world.
This may sound fascinating. Of course, it does! But there’s a downside to the Metaverse. According to experts, the metaphors will aggravate the existing online cyber security concerns and introduce various new security challenges – some predictable and some unpredictable.
According to research, cyber threats, as well as cyber-crimes, are rapidly increasing. Statistics show a 50% or more rise in cybercrimes year over year. Recent predictions claim that the annual costs of cyber-crimes will cross USD 10 trillion by 2025. The primary target for these criminals is likely not to be finance or commerce. Instead, it could be essential industries that will become targets for cyber-crimes, such as education, agriculture, and real estate.
Whenever the meta emerges to supplant Web 2, experts warn that these trends will only worsen.
“Verifiable credentials [should be] easily structured to enable easier identification of fellow community or team members, or to enable configurable access to varying virtual world locations and experiences.”
The Metaverse is designed to operate using digital avatars that individuals create for themselves. The avatar will be secure and unique, enabling the real human. Additionally, through the avatar, the user can interact with the users in this digital space, including working with colleagues in a digital workspace.
Usually, when the users create their digital avatar, they often disclose their Personal Identifiable Information (PII). A hacker can use the private offline information from your PII to access your financial accounts and your avatar. These details can potentially steal your identity, gain control of your avatar, and may engage in behaviors that can ruin your relations and reputation and damage your offline safety.
NFT and bitcoins scams
The metaverse works through its monetary system, including cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and nonfungible tokens (NFTs). Cryptocurrencies and NFTs can be collected, exchanged, lost, or spent, just like a physical currency in our physical world. The process of buying these digital currencies begins with traditional money.
Like in a physical world, scammers and thieves flock to anything of value, the Metaverse; even though it is in the initial stage, it has been an area of concern and breath-taking scams. It is estimated that more than USD 14 billion in cryptocurrencies was lost to scams and fraudsters last year.
As theft in the Metaverse usually involves blockchain technology, it is almost impossible for legal enforcement to track the culprit. This is because of the decentralized nature of blockchain, which erases records of the chain possession.
Biometric and data theft Biometric hacking is one of the most alarming aspects of the possible cyber security concerns in the Metaverse. Metaverse functions through VR/AR. Users need to wear VR headphones and other VR/AR technologies like haptic gloves.
These devices can be used in certain Metaverse areas for identifying biometrics, such as fingerprints and iris scanning. Sadly, critics fear that cyber criminals may gain access to a user’s biometrics, which enables them to access sensitive data like bank accounts and provide private information about the end user’s medical status and functioning.
Safety of people
The captivating environment of the Metaverse can put end users’ physical safety in the offline world at risk. For example, when a hacker takes control of someone’s account, they can manipulate what the user sees, here’s orders in the virtual world.
However, users’ activity in the metals can also translate readily into activity in the physical world. The captivating experience of the meta means that a user can become disoriented quickly as their senses no longer register their actual physical environment. A hacker can manifest the metaverse environment and show that users respond physically without awareness of their surroundings in the real world. This can even lead to a life-threatening situation, as hackers could manipulate end-users to unintentionally walk forward into traffic or off a building or flight of stairs.
Physical safety is a significant concern for parents whose children are playing games in the Metaverse.
The Metaverse is an immersive new world that holds an enormous lot of potential – it may revolutionize the way we communicate, work, socialize etc. At the same time, the threats posed by this world are for real. Each one of us – the creators, governments, organizations, and citizens as well – must understand the potential threats and guard against these dangers.