Due to the dangerous threat landscape online, challenges have spread and additionally have an impact upon Metaverse security.
As this virtual environment expands, and more users begin to work and spend their leisure time in the Metaverse, more cyber security challenges come with this.
In the Metaverse cyber criminals can use AI and machine learning to conduct more harmful attacks than ever before, hence why it’s important to understand how they occur and the impact they have.
In this post we will be exploring some of the main security challenges that users within the Metaverse are subject to, and looking into how they can be prevented to ensure safe conditions within the environment.
So, let’s get started with a clear definition of what the Metaverse is.
What is the Metaverse?
The Metaverse is an immersive virtual landscape that is an open platform for both work and play.
It is effectively an alternative to the physical world, as it can mimic everyday communities and environments but without constraints such as geographical location.
Essentially, you can be across the world but still be within the comfort of your office or living room.
The Metaverse can be accessed through a variety of connected devices such as a headset and set of controllers, and you can be instantly transported to a new environment.
However, with this expanding environment comes more security challenges, and attackers and bots will continue to increase and attack around the clock.
Meaning there are already many security challenges that exist within the Metaverse to combat and it’s important to be prepared for when further new attacks arise.
Metaverse Security Challenges
It’s difficult to determine all of the exact cyber challenges faced by and lurking within the Metaverse, as its existence is still technically ‘in the making’.
As the environment is expanding, threats are too and this means cyber crime is on the rise as new attacks and attackers can come to light within the Metaverse.
These threats can impact gamers, buyers, workers, sellers, and all others who interact with the Metaverse, therefore it’s essential to understand the most common security challenges and how to prevent them.
So that being said, we have collated a list of the top security challenges affecting the Metaverse, so let’s get started.
The darkverse is essentially like the dark web of the Metaverse.
It’s a deep web environment where criminal activity can flourish, as it is off the radar and away from other activity within the space.
There is a range of criminal activity that occurs within the darkverse as it is home to underground marketplaces and illegal communications.
Cyber criminals can thrive here as the darkverse can only be accessed from a specific location using codes to gain entry.
Therefore, criminals can meet and trade without the risk of law enforcement accessing the space or discovering any of the illegal activity.
Of course it is a good idea to avoid the darkverse at all costs, but it may be that your avatar is hijacked and placed there unknowingly to you.
This is known as a social engineering attack, and we will touch on how to prevent them below.
Social Engineering Attacks
There is a wide range of social engineering attacks that occur frequently within the online space, and this goes for the Metaverse too.
In fact the Metaverse is a breeding ground for this type of attack as people interact with each other, whether that be colleagues, strangers or friends, by AR and VR.
In order to communicate through the Metaverse or even work or play, people use avatars and it’s possible for these avatars to be taken over.
If a hacker takes over an avatar they can request personal information from other users and contacts, effectively in disguise.
This is how attackers can steal further information, as they can play or work posing as the original user and trick people into revealing personal information.
Therefore, the Metaverse environment makes it much easier for threat actors to commit crimes.
On top of this cyber criminals can gain access to suits, headsets, and controllers to monitor users actions.
For example, if someone inputs financial details to make a purchase, or inputs credentials to log into an account, hackers can see this play out in front of them.
It is then easy for details to be stolen and used elsewhere all without the hacker being noticed by the user.
Social engineering attacks make it hard to determine if requests for information are genuine and safe, and therefore are some of the most successful attacks in the Metaverse.
NFT and Bitcoin Scams
Within the Metaverse cryptocurrencies are often used such as Non-fungible tokens (NFT’s) and Bitcoin.
These currencies can be spent or exchanged, but in some cases they can be lost, or stolen by threat actors.
Just as currency can be stolen in the physical online world, scammers will flock to anything of value in the Metaverse and find ways to steal financial details or finances in general.
Therefore, billions have been lost in the Metaverse over time as the same type of ransomware attacks can be conducted in this virtual space.
Increase in All Scams
In the online world scams are at an all time high, and the Metaverse creates another environment for scams and attacks to thrive.
Metaverse users value interconnectivity and the unique uninterrupted experience of the environment as they can work in a virtual world, and therefore don’t appreciate the intrusion of security measures.
These security measures are important however they can ruin the experience, and if users ignore or delete messages or alerts about cyber security this can create an unregulated space for cyber crime.
Ultimately, if there are no measures in place, it can be difficult to protect users and their private and confidential information they may have entered into the device they use to access the space.
If you pair this with the fact that hackers are much more difficult to recognise due to their disguises as users or players, this encourages more and more crime to flood the Metaverse.
How to Prevent Security Challenges in the Metaverse
Much like cyber security challenges in the physical world, there are ways to prevent threats and risks in the Metaverse.
Although some are the same as real world attacks occur within the Metaverse too, there are other prevention techniques to keep in mind when dealing with challenges unique to this virtual environment.
Passwords and Multi-Factor Authentication
Just as we encourage you to use strong passwords and multi-factor authentication (MFA) across your accounts and devices in the physical world, this principle is the same for the Metaverse.
As we previously mentioned it is easy for cyber criminals to gain access to suits, headsets and controllers, or take control of a user’s avatar and pose as them in the virtual environment.
In order to make this process harder for threat actors, it’s important to create a strong set of credentials for each account you log into whether that is through work or leisure time.
Cyber Security Awareness Training
To be prepared for a cyber attack of any kind, it’s important to ensure you and your team receive adequate training.
Whether that is a basic course for understanding the fundamentals of cyber security, or a higher level course with practical drills and more in-depth knowledge, it should be on your list of priorities.
When exploring how to prevent attacks in the Metaverse, it’s particularly important to be consistent when it comes to training as new ways to attack are always being used by hackers.
Updating training for your organisation can help you to stay on top of attacks and stay up to date with how best to combat each and every hacker you encounter in the virtual space.
Keep Track of Attacks
Keeping track of attacks, old and new, betters your chances of preventing them when they occur in the future.
For example, keeping track of how credentials were stolen during past attacks can help you to understand what measures need to be put in place to prevent future attacks.
Although some types of attack don’t exist yet, it’s important to keep reports of new attacks that surface, how they came about, and how they can be prevented and stopped.
Metaverse Security Challenges and How to Face Them
With the online environment expanding and changing, it’s important to stay vigilant and be aware of the attacks that can occur even within the Metaverse.
We hope this post has provided you with a better sense of the type of attacks that can occur both in and out of the Metaverse, and how to stay safe in a space that is constantly increasing in size and scope.
Whether your workplace is looking to move over to the Metaverse, or you are already working and spending your free time in the environment, there are a variety of attacks that can impact your personal information or the details of your organisation.
With attacks old and new on the rise, it’s important to be aware of the best ways to combat these challenges, through training, increased account security, and incident reports.
At TLR we can help to prepare you for cyber attacks with security boot camps that can train your team in all aspects of cyber security, from hacker prevention, to the best way to secure your network.
If you feel your company could benefit from training with us here at TLR, or you would like some more information on our cyber security services, get in touch with our team today.