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Monday 26 September 2022

Metaverse Security: New Technologies and Applications Require Novel Solutions

Metaverse Security: New Technologies and Applications Require Novel Solutions

Will the Metaverse inherit the security risks of today’s internet?

The Metaverse seems to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue – and for a good reason.
Simply put, Metaverse is the fusion of the real, augmented, and virtual realities in the digital world.
Advancements in immersive technologies such as virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR),
leveraged with other Internet-based technologies, can fundamentally change how we connect with
one another.

As the next frontier of technology, the Metaverse holds the promise of being the next iteration of
the Internet, wherein everything from entertainment to social networking to shopping is more
immersive, engaging, and personalized.

The revolution has already begun as numerous tech giants and startups are mushrooming in the
space with creative approaches to developing interactive, immersive, collaborative experiences for
its users and clients. India is, in fact, at the centre of this transformation – playing a significant
part in driving the Metaverse revolution. Even in a short period of time, India has climbed nearly
40 places in the Global Innovation Index, now ranking 46th in the world. In addition, video
streaming and game consumption in India have been growing faster than ever. According to
some estimates, the Indian gaming market is most likely to triple to $7 billion by 2026. This, along
with India's flourishing IT sector and entrepreneurial culture – the country is well-positioned to
contribute to both the creation and sustenance of the Metaverse. 

However, just like any other new technology, this new opportunity in the form of advanced
immersive technology also brings its own set of challenges and cyber risks.

“We already have security challenges that we haven’t been able to adequately address,” said Kayne
McGladrey, IEEE Senior Member. “The Metaverse is likely to inherit these challenges – for example,
phishing and theft of credentials has, unsurprisingly, carried over to the Metaverse. We’ve seen NFT
and cryptocurrency scams, too, in the Metaverse.”

However, all is not doom and gloom, as the Metaverse is in its nascent stages, providing an
opportunity to develop the technology with security at the forefront of the design process.

In the Metaverse, one’s digital avatar is essentially one’s identity – for better or worse.
“Identity management is probably where we’re going to be the most challenged when leveraging
technologies associated with the Metaverse,” said McGladrey. “Related to that, I expect user and
entity behavior analysis to present security challenges unique to the Metaverse.”
McGladrey is optimistic that Metaverse-based technologies will be backended with artificial
intelligence technologies to address these challenges or, at the very least, that these technologies
will be bolstered through the inclusion of security operations and automated responses for
authentication purposes.

For example, McGladrey says that AI-based solutions can be used to identify reliable patterns that
correlate to users’ identities, and also automate detection of deviations that prompt a second factor
of authentication to help prevent identity theft.

According to McGladrey, end-users will greatly benefit from approaches to security that focus on
identity management and user behavior analysis, as identity and behavior are two core components
of what will define the Metaverse.

One of the key ways to ensure that the Metaverse is secure is to build security into devices and
platforms from the start, as opposed to bolting on solutions after users are already engaging with
the technology.

“I think that blockchain is going to ultimately be the underpinning of all transactions and all
ownership of items in the Metaverse,” said McGladrey. This would provide for a more secure
Metaverse, wherein permanent immutable records of user behavior, transactions, and item
ownership would be captured for improved authentication.”

His sentiment was echoed by IEEE Member Qiqi Wang. “The security of the Metaverse depends on
its underlying structures,” said Wang. “A blockchain-based Metaverse naturally has better user
privacy protection and security.”

Additionally, Wang believes that existing and proven security tools should be incorporated into the
Metaverse early on to better understand how they may impact this new digital ecosystem.
Ultimately, according to Wang, the Metaverse depends on centralized technology – and there are
plenty of tools that can be built in at the early stage to help secure this.

“At the end of the day, the Metaverse is similar to other iterations of the Internet in that users need
security to protect their digital assets,” said Wang. “I have confidence that along the way, as the
Metaverse is developed, there will definitely be improvements and refinement, providing us with
better security.”

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