The metaverse isn’t from a sci-fi novel. It’s already becoming a part of life. So are you ready to operate in this physical/virtual hybrid world, and navigate the security challenges that come with it?
Technology is advancing more quickly than ever. And as the world begins to embrace more immersive technologies that blur the lines between physical and virtual environments, we’re heading deeper and deeper into the metaverse… and coming face-to-face with a range of new security issues.
What is the metaverse?
The metaverse is a place where the boundaries between the physical and digital worlds merge. It’s a digital representation of real people, things, and communities, allowing anyone to interact with digital content in much the same way they’d interact with their real, tangible surroundings. Augmented reality and virtual reality systems are just two ways to explore this metaverse.
McKinsey estimates that the industry could be worth 5 trillion USD by 2030 (more than 7.5 trillion AUD). And the metaverse isn’t just something that’s being talked about. It’s real. It’s happening. And it could already be in your children’s schools, or at your local hospital. Right here in Australia, the NSW Department of Education is using VR technologies as learning tools. And the NSW Department of Health is training new doctors in stroke treatment protocols using a VR system.
Businesses wanting to thrive in the future need to be prepared to operate in the metaverse. But they also need to ensure they’re taking necessary precautions to protect against the cybersecurity risks.
Cyber risks in the metaverse
Just as businesses need to consider the security risks of operating online, they also need to consider the risks of operating in the metaverse. On the whole, the security challenges that exist in the metaverse are similar to those that exist on the internet. However, some of these challenges are more advanced, meaning businesses will need to have robust security procedures in place.
One challenge comes from the fact that an increasing number of real financial transactions will be taking place in the digital space, attracting more criminals keen to get their hands on businesses’ money – and that of their customers. Criminals are likely to exploit vulnerabilities or ‘holes’ that develop in the boundary between the physical and digital worlds to steal funds and other digital financial assets.
The biggest challenge, however, comes in the form of privacy. The metaverse is rooted in the concept of developing digital representations of real people. Identity is at the heart of it all. This opens up doors to increased identity theft, and due to the nature of the metaverse, it can be difficult to detect.
Both businesses and customers may believe they are interacting with the real person associated with the digital identity, sharing information freely. In the metaverse, you may never see a person’s real face, or hear their real voice. You might rely solely upon an avatar as confirmation that that person is who they say they are. Many people already fall victim to phishing scams online. Imagine how many more will when they believe they are interacting with a trusted supplier or loyal customer in the metaverse.
Of course, the metaverse also comes with all the same cyber challenges as the internet. From hardware vulnerabilities to ransomware attacks, there are many ways hackers can gain access to systems and confidential data, and utilise this data to scam or extort money from businesses.
Preparing for the future
The metaverse is coming. We can’t stop it. And neither would we want to. It holds the potential to improve skills, maximise employability, aid learning, combat isolation, and boost convenience.
But we all need to be prepared.
We believe that the most effective way for businesses to get ready for the metaverse is to ensure they have strong and powerful cybersecurity policies in place. They need to be using the most effective tools and systems to generate a more robust technology infrastructure. At Perigon One, that’s what we’re here to help with. Get in touch with us to learn more about enhancing your IT environment.