Although coined way back in the mid-90s, there are many reasons why the metaverse is being touted as the future of the internet.
For one, the metaverse is a decentralized platform that is not controlled by any one party. This means that it is much more resistant to censorship and manipulation than traditional platforms like Facebook or Twitter.
Additionally, the metaverse is designed to be much more user-friendly and accessible than current blockchain platforms. For example, the metaverse has an easy-to-use wallet that allows users to store and manage their assets in a user-friendly way.
Finally, the metaverse has a strong focus on creating an inclusive and welcoming community. Developers are currently working on a Global Digital Asset Registry that will allow users to register their assets on the blockchain in a secure and trustless manner. This will help to create a more inclusive ecosystem where everyone can participate and benefit from the platform.
According to recent research, the search volume for the keyword 'metaverse' has doubled in the last year alone. Furthermore, the size of the worldwide metaverse market is expected to increase from USD 61.8 billion in 2022 to USD 426.9 billion by 2027. But this newly emerging digital trend comes amidst some potential cybersecurity risks and challenges.
As the world becomes increasingly digitized, the need for better cybersecurity measures grows more apparent. In light of recent cyber attacks, it has become clear that current security measures are not enough to protect our data. Fortunately, the metaverse platform may offer a solution to this problem. By providing a secure virtual space where people can conduct business and interact with others, the metaverse could help to improve cybersecurity for individuals and businesses alike. With its blockchain-based architecture and innovative use of smart contracts, the metaverse could be instrumental in shaping the future of cybersecurity.
How the Metaverse Can Shape the Cybersecurity Industry
Although the metaverse is still in its technological infancy, cybersecurity experts foresee unique security challenges that risk plaguing the platform. For example, fraudulent activities like phishing will continue in this digital universe, and potentially grow more deceptive and destructive. In addition, threat actors will leverage the metaverse as a new corridor to invade sensitive data and the intellectual property of its user base.
On a more positive note, the metaverse will help organizations train their employees in a safe and realistic environment. They can use it to simulate real-world scenarios and test new security measures. By creating virtual models of crime scenes, investigators may be able to track down clues and evidence in the aftermath of an attack that would otherwise have gone unnoticed.
The Top Cybersecurity Concerns in the Metaverse
As the world increasingly moves online, cybersecurity concerns are mounting. While the internet has connected us in ways we never thought possible, it has also created new opportunities for criminals to exploit. Here are some of the top cybersecurity concerns in the metaverse:
1. Social Engineering Attacks
Since the inception of the term metaverse, modern cybercrimes have started to appear, like the ever-increasing NFT scams. All such scams incorporate social engineering attacks which will continue to haunt the users and cybersecurity experts for a long duration.
For example, NFT hacks resulted in losses of about $52 million in the first four months of 2022 alone, compared to less than $7 million in the entire year of 2021. While NFT platform breaches began small in early 2021, targeting individual users for a few tens of thousands of dollars, less than a year later, fraudsters are routinely stealing millions of dollars in cryptocurrency.
Based on such statistics, it seems like we will be experiencing a skyrocketing trend of such attacks as the metaverse continues to acquire an actual existence.
2. Data Theft
The metaverse will accommodate an overwhelming amount of sensitive data and intellectual property.
Data privacy has long been a priority for governments, regulators, and, increasingly, ordinary internet users. Creating the avatars required to "live" and "co-exist" in the metaverse and undertake activities necessitates increasing data sharing and exposure with tech businesses.
There are fears that entering the metaverse may result in more surveillance of an individual's activities, which will be tracked and evaluated before the resulting data is sold to advertisers. As individuals upload more personal data to the metaverse, the potential of sensitive or private data theft rises. To realize its full potential, the metaverse will almost certainly need to install additional sensors in homes and offices. These devices' valuable ability to monitor user behavior and actions in real-time will render them increasingly vulnerable to targeted cyber-attacks.
3. Decentralization vs. Vulnerabilities
In 2021, the number of data breaches skyrocketed. It was the most expensive year for a data breach in nearly two decades, with annual costs climbing from USD 3.86 million to USD 4.24 million. The arrival of the metaverse has already sparked debates about legislation, privacy safeguards, and cybersecurity risks at the government, industry, and society levels.
The reality that the metaverse will share its foundation with blockchain technology is another point of concern. Although blockchain technology is much more secure, it is not resistant to all threats or vulnerabilities. Its decentralized structure compromises the role of admins to manipulate or contain any sort of activities, including the bad ones. With the lack of authority, gaining access to the data assets will become easier and pose multiple challenges to technologists and policymakers.
How to Prepare Against Cyber Attacks in the Metaverse?
Since the metaverse poses a range of modern and unforeseen cybersecurity challenges, there will be a critical need to deploy tight policies and regulations. Every 39 seconds, a new attack is launched by hackers attempting to steal valuable data. These attacks can create a great deal of worry and financial damage for people who are impacted. For example, TheVPNExpert's cybersecurity guide highlights some of the worst cyber-attacks known in history.
As a preventive measure, there is an urgent need to establish strong endpoint security via VPNs and anti-malware software. This, however, should only be regarded as the first step. VPNs now account for more than 25% of all internet connections.
Another significant threat vector is social engineering and phishing attacks. Therefore, corporations and individuals need to share awareness and discuss vulnerabilities linked with the upcoming technology.
Finally, most SMBs and enterprise-level companies need to adopt modern approaches like regular penetration testing, attack surface management and threat intelligence. By strictly following vulnerability scanning protocols, businesses can ensure their security and control over their systems by reducing cybercrimes risks.
Although the metaverse is still in its early developmental stages, it has the potential to revolutionize the cybersecurity industry. The features that it offers – such as digital identity verification and asset management – could help to improve security for businesses and individuals around the world. In addition, by providing a platform on which people can interact with each other and conduct transactions securely, the metaverse could play a major role in shaping the future of online commerce.
About Silent Breach: Silent Breach is an award-winning provider of cyber security services. Our global team provides cutting-edge insights and expertise across the Data Center, Enterprise, SME, Retail, Government, Finance, Education, Automotive, Hospitality, Healthcare and IoT industries.
That said, uncertainties remain. Taking a security-by-design approach can prepare the world to embrace this newer technology in a safe and secured environment without compromising their data security.
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