Cyber ​​Threats in the Metaverse |

Exactly what the Metaverse is supposed to be is still unclear. But cyber threats are already on the horizon, says Anna Collard, SVP Content Strategy & Evangelist at KnowBe4, in a guest post.

The Metaverse may still be a concept at the moment, but the possibilities already seem huge. This becomes especially tangible when you combine the advances and affordability of Augmented Reality (XR) with the decentralized nature and composability of Web3, cryptocurrencies, decentralized finance, and the underlying blockchain technology.

The metaverse aims to transform human engagement and interactions, and push the boundaries of commercialization. In a recent survey of 200 German consumers, the majority of respondents said they had a clear idea of ​​the metaverse. Imagine it half as virtual reality. About a tenth think of a pure game world and only 20% have never heard of it. It is interesting at this stage that for a good third (35%) the advantages of the new digital space predominate. Only a small proportion (14%) view the metaverse critically and only 3% clearly rate it negatively.

Unfortunately, the Metaverse is also a whole new world filled with security risks, vulnerabilities, and legitimate user concerns. Because while these innovations may push the boundaries of human interaction, they also provide new opportunities for fraud, cybercrime and scams.

It is difficult to predict where Metaverse, Web3 and NFT will go or if blockchain will remain a viable infrastructure technology. However, what is already emerging is that these environments require better approaches to information security. The fact is that a lot of money is invested in this area and a lot of money is stolen. Blockchain analytics firm Elliptic reported that DeFi platforms have already lost $12 billion so far.

And the security issues that exist today (fraud, impersonation, credential theft, social engineering, vulnerabilities, misinformation, etc.) will enter the metaverse with humans, potentially causing even more damage. In the metaverse, phishing attacks using deep forgery technology will be able to impersonate trusted institutions or knowledge avatars.

Already today, people interested in the Metaverse are being tricked by phishing scams involving fraudulent NFTs, Metaverse land sales and other dubious Web3 projects via social media, Discord channels, emails and comments on popular YouTube videos offered by Tobe.

Another security issue in the Metaverse is, for example, trolls, but also sexual and racial harassment, which people already face on most digital platforms. However, the immediacy of virtual reality can be even more devastating to the psychological well-being of its victims. These and other concerns are also reflected in the survey results, with more than 60% of participants seeing the greatest danger to users in a possible risk of addiction and the impending loss of reality. Nearly half are concerned about the lack of a legal framework for the use of this innovation, and about 40% consider the possibility of criminals abusing the metaverse as a threat.

The risks for children are particularly high, as they are more likely to explore the metaverse before their parents, and are therefore exposed to inappropriate content without us, the parents or caregivers, noticing. Most existing VR worlds already offer a range of tools to combat this, e.g. B. personal spaces, muting, blocking and reporting malicious or even toxic behavior.

As parents, it is therefore important that they educate themselves and sensitize vulnerable groups like their children to the risks and show them the importance of using these tools to protect themselves and their families in this new world as well as in outside.

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