This article covers 5 metaverse security risks as professionals across various industries are hailing the metaverse as the next step forward in the digital age. Although metaverse technologies will revolutionize the way that people socialize and conduct business, these new online spaces present many challenges. As these technologies progress, people become especially concerned with emerging metaverse security threats. While the metaverse becomes a commonplace and consumers may not be able to avoid it, they will want to stay safe in the new digital world. Let’s dive into the overview of the metaverse and its cybersecurity implications to be better prepared as the metaverse becomes more important in everyday life.
What is the Metaverse?
When someone speaks about the metaverse, they’re referring to a collection of three-dimensional digital worlds. These digital realms exist in virtual reality and are built and maintained with blockchain technologies. The metaverse isn’t a single place. However, as exemplified by Facebook changing its name to Meta, tech giants are racing to build the biggest and most popular metaverse spaces for online commerce, augmented reality, gaming, social interaction, and several other exciting applications. Moreover, many metaverse platforms are integrating crypto technologies and NFTs to give users the ability to generate value and make secure transactions.
How the Metaverse Will Affect Your Life
The metaverse is still a new concept, but experts expect it to grow rapidly. Users spent more than $500 million on virtual properties in the metaverse in 2021, and this number is likely to double in 2022. Some projections estimate that the metaverse will have a market size of over $1.5 trillion by 2029.
Although you may not be interested in online real estate or cryptocurrencies, you will probably still spend some time in the metaverse as it gains momentum. More and more organizations are holding meetings and events in the metaverse, and major social media companies are starting to explore metaverse functionalities. Some people have even held weddings in the metaverse. In the future, you may have to attend meetings on metaverse platforms as a part of your job, and it will be harder to keep your distance from these technologies as more individuals and organizations adopt them.
Top 5 Metaverse Security Risks
As one of the most interesting digital technologies of the 2020s, the metaverse has captured the interest of millions of people around the world. Because of this, you are likely to interact with the metaverse in some capacity at work or in your personal life. Like any digital space, the metaverse presents some major cybersecurity risks, so it’s a good idea to pay close attention to the five following vulnerabilities as this technology continues to expand.
The metaverse isn’t a centralized place; there are many different metaverses to choose from. As more organizations develop their own metaverse platforms, the average user will have a harder time determining the legitimacy of different digital spaces. Thus, scammers will spend more time advertising fake metaverses and digital products to swindle people out of their money, passwords, and personal information.
Inconsistent Industry Standards
Because the concept of the metaverse is so new, regulators haven’t been able to keep up, and there are few industry-wide standards to keep these digital spaces safe. Aside from the online spaces themselves, hackers are targeting virtual reality headsets and other hardware products to spy on users and steal their information. It may take a long time for web developers, hardware manufacturers, tech companies, regulatory agencies, and governments across the world to develop, implement, and enforce universal standards to optimize metaverse security.
Traditionally, scammers have conducted phishing attacks by impersonating important people and organizations on the phone, via email, or on social media. Now, phishers are starting to copy metaverse avatars and send fraudulent messages to victims on metaverse platforms. Phishers may try to impersonate your boss or someone from your bank in these new digital spaces. Thus, no matter where you are online, you need to make sure to vet a person’s messages and verify their identity before sharing any information.
Tech companies don’t have the greatest track record when it comes to protecting their users’ data. For example, in 2019, 533 million users’ phone numbers and email addresses were compromised in a data breach. If these companies have let hackers access your data before, then there’s no guarantee that they won’t do it again. For this reason, you should be careful about how much information you share with metaverse companies.
It’s not easy for the wrong person to sneak into a meeting at a company’s office. They would have to bypass the front desk, make it through several doors and common areas, and attend the meeting without being noticed. Online spaces aren’t always as difficult to infiltrate. For example, despite numerous security measures, many hackers have forced their way into private Zoom meetings since the platform has taken off. Such intrusions have also occurred in the metaverse, so metaverse companies will have to implement strong identification verification protocols to keep uninvited guests out of private spaces.
Staying Safe in Any Digital Space
The metaverse will allow individuals and organizations to interact in several unprecedented ways. However, it’s extremely important to keep these top 5 metaverse security risks in mind when navigating these emerging digital spaces. Identity theft, phishing attacks, and other online scams have become more and more commonplace since the dawn of the internet, and the metaverse presents a world of new opportunities for hackers and fraudsters. Therefore, you need to be very careful about your activity in the metaverse to protect your hard-earned money and valuable information.