The term “metaverse” first appeared in 1992 in a dystopian novel entitled “Snow Crash” by US science fiction author Neal Stephenson. In the book, the metaverse – think roleplaying crossed with multiplayer online gaming – represents a virtual place of refuge for the protagonists who are struggling to make their way through an apocalyptic world.
An early manifestation of this concept was Second Life, the online virtual world that enjoyed huge popularity in the 2000s but today is fading away into a wasteland inhabited by undead avatars.
However, by 2021, when Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg presented the metaverse as his vision of the future of the Internet and simultaneously announced that Facebook Inc. was to be renamed Meta, the creation of a virtual parallel world – one that goes beyond pure escapism – had begun to gain new traction. The number of providers of real goods and services in the metaverse is growing rapidly.
It’s no exaggeration to describe the metaverse as a disruptive technology, which is set to shape the daily lives of increasing numbers of people in no small way. Unfortunately, as can only be expected, the metaverse – which is still finding its feet – is already proving very attractive to cyber criminals seeking new attack vectors. As cyber security strategies have not yet been developed to a sufficient degree, the metaverse offers massive potential for criminal attacks. Imagine, for example, a virtual meeting between representatives from two companies, discussing the confidential details of an important strategic decision – only for one of them to later be revealed to be very high-quality deepfake.
In aninterview published in XR Today, Candid Wüest, Vice President of Cyber Protection Research at Acronis, outlined what he sees as the specific challenges facing the metaverse in terms of data protection and security issues. Without a comprehensive cyber security strategy that takes account of all risks arising from socioeconomic exchange in the metaverse, the floodgates will be opened for “metaverse warfare”. According to Wüest, an effective security strategy should be based on technologies that detect potential risks in real time using Artificial Intelligence and machine learning to nip attacks in the bud. In conjunction with the use of blockchain, security tokens and biometric techniques, this will enable the effective protection of the digital and intellectual property in the 3D universe of the metaverse.
Read more here about how Acronis is contributing to cyber security in the metaverse.