Marketing in the metaverse? Real estate in the metaverse? The word pops up so often that to many it might seem like the next iteration of the internet has already arrived.
In truth, we’re still in the very early days of what is essentially a combination of virtual reality, augmented reality, and video through which users move with avatars.
It’s still far too early to tell if the concept will die out like Google Glass or reflect the same lack of understanding around the internet in the 1990s (before it became, well, what it is today). today).
Like companies as diverse as Meta (MVRS) – Get meta reportAdidas (ADDDF) and chipotle (GCM) – Get the Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. report. are all trying to cement their space in the metaverse, it’s worth considering the role online safety and security will play.
A lack of understanding around a new technology paves the way for potential scammers or bad actors. Research by the non-profit Center for Countering Digital Hate found an average of one instance of sexual content, racism, abuse, hate, homophobia or misogyny in the world of Oculus headsets from Meta VRChat every seven minutes.
Other concerns currently circulating relate to identity fraud and the potential for scams that arise when many do not fully understand a new technology. Just last week, the Southern District of New York charged two men under a ‘cover and pull scheme’ that defrauded NFT owners of just over $1.1 million. dollars.
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“We have a chance at the start of this era to establish specific fundamental security principles that promote trust and peace of mind for metaverse experiences,” Charlie Bell, Microsoft (MSFT) – Get the Microsoft Corporation reportThe new executive vice president of security, compliance, identity and management wrote in a blog post about the tech giant’s approach to the metaverse.
“[…] The security community must work together to build a foundation to work, shop and play safely.”
What does Microsoft have to say about this?
Switch from Amazon to Microsoft (AMZN) – Get the report from Amazon.com, Inc. last fall, Bell is now head of cybersecurity at the tech giant that led the internet revolution 30 years ago.
In the March 28 blog post, Bell highlighted the need to combat phishing and ensure authentication to prevent bad actors from misappropriating metaverse avatars for evil purposes.
“Play this forward and imagine what phishing might look like in the metaverse,” he wrote. “It will not be a fake email from your bank. It could be an avatar of a teller in the lobby of a virtual bank asking for your information. It could be an imitation of your CEO inviting you to a meeting in a malicious virtual conference room.”
Of course, bold promises to “come together” to provide security in the metaverse may seem trivial – we can barely fight scams and abuse on social media today. But according to Bell, it’s far from too early to start early because the Metaverse could come to life sooner than we think.
“The Internet’s problems of yesterday and today – identity theft, attempted credential theft, social engineering, spying on nation states, unavoidable vulnerabilities – will be with us in the metaverse” , Bell said. “And it will take the same security community of good faith, standards and teamwork to anticipate and respond to them.”