The Metaverse: everyone’s talking about it, but what exactly is it? What additional security threats might it pose?
If you’re curious or maybe a bit concerned about the Metaverse, let’s look.
What Is the Metaverse?
The Metaverse has recently become a popular tech buzzword, but what does it mean? While it might seem like some hip new thing, the term was actually coined in 1992 in the novel Snow Crash.
In the novel, the main character named Hiro Protagonist investigates a dangerous drug. The weird thing about this drug is it can only be found in a hyper internet reality called the Metaverse. The Metaverse is an online space that mimics many aspects of real-life spaces.
Games That Utilize the Metaverse
The Metaverse is where virtual reality, the internet, and augmented reality combine. Many Sci-Fi novels following Snow Crash have discussed the concept, such as Ready Player One. In addition to Sci-Fi novels, you’re also probably familiar with the Metaverse through games. Here are a few examples of games that let players create their Metaverse worlds:
- Animal Crossing
- Second Life
What Security Risks Exist in The Metaverse?
While the Metaverse is super cool, it poses security risks just like any new technology. Two main technologies are propping up the Metaverse: VR and AR. These help you interact with the Metaverse. Let’s look at a few security risks with these.
AR Security Risks
Augmented Reality, or AR, is an exciting new development of the 21st century. If you’ve ever played Pokemon Go, congratulations, you’ve used AR. Basically, AR shows you the world around you while also placing digital items in the world.
One of the downsides of AR is that hackers can use it to access all the information on your device. AR requires access to your camera, location, and often much more. If a hacker gets to your device through an AR game, they can do a lot of damage.
Virtual Reality Security Risks
Virtual Reality also comes with a lot of security risks. If you use a VR device, you’ll want to take extra security precautions. Most VR devices collect biometric data. These could be fingerprints, retina scans, voice recordings, and facial scans. If hackers get access to this data, they can:
- Steal your identity
- Impersonate you
- Lock you out of your Metaverse world
- Hold your data hostage
If a hacker gets into your VR device, they can wreak havoc. But that’s not the only way people get your data.
Attacks Through Social Engineering
It’s normal for online databases to require users to answer security questions. These are often personal information questions such as “what is your mother’s maiden name?” People are typically pretty smart about not giving out this information. However, it’s pretty easy for a person with ill intent to farm sensitive data by asking fun quiz questions.
For example, have you ever played a game where you make your exotic dancer’s name? You make it by taking the name of your first pet and the street you grew up on. If you answer this question on a random Facebook group, it’s really easy for anyone to get the answers to your private security questions.
How to Minimize Metaverse Security Risks
Want to engage with the Metaverse safely? Here are two major points of cybersecurity you’ll want to cover.
- Educate your children on cyber security
The biggest cyber security risk in any family home is children who use the internet. You need to teach your kids about cyber security. Your kids need to know how to pick good passwords. They also need to be aware of social engineering attacks and how to avoid them.
- Protect the devices of your home using a VPN
The easiest way to minimize security risks is to get a VPN for all your devices. When you sign up for a VPN service, you can select how many devices you need to cover. Your VPN will keep your data invisible and encrypted. It will also spoof your IP. This way, even if you’re using a USA VPN, you can look like you’re anywhere in the world.
The Metaverse may seem like this big scary tech thing, but we’ve had the idea for decades. It’s basically just the internet with VR and AR enhancements. There are plenty of games like Minecraft that utilize the Metaverse concept.
As with any new technology, there are some additional security risks. However, by educating your children and using a VPN, you can easily stay safe from metaverse hackers. A few simple protective measures can keep you safe in this brave new world.