The metaverse is a hot topic, and it’s easy to see why. It promises a 3D model of the internet, where virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality offer endless escapism. It provides a place parallel to the physical world where you can live a rich digital life: hang out with friends, shop for real or virtual products, play and create games, purchase and monetize real estate and much more. It’s no wonder people want the metaverse to reach its full potential as soon as possible.

However, with all the buzz surrounding the metaverse, one critical concern is often overlooked: cybersecurity. How do we offer immersive and boundless virtual spaces while keeping our critical data safe?

Why We Need to Secure the Metaverse: Top Security Concerns

Today’s threat landscape is more dangerous than ever before. Attackers use advanced methods that include artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. At the same time, fledgling threat actors benefit from more accessible and affordable crime-as-a-service products.

When new technology crops up, there’s always someone waiting to take advantage of it. We saw this happen with COVID-19. Cyberattacks rose as companies adapted to remote work as the new norm. If threat actors can wreak havoc on the metaverse during its infancy, people could give up on the concept.

In addition, protecting the virtual identity of users needs to be top of mind when designing the metaverse. While the metaverse will contain lots of software, users must invest in hardware like smart glasses and VR headsets to get the full picture This means robust cybersecurity measures for both the expanding digital attack surface and the physical attack surface. In essence, attackers won’t be lacking in attack vectors.

Combatting Metaverse Cybersecurity Concerns

For the metaverse to thrive, it must adopt a zero trust model rooted in the concept of ‘never trust, always verify’. A zero trust model requires strict identity checks. It also uses ongoing authentication and verification to ensure bad actors are kept out or severely limited. With the colossal amounts of data set to be hosted in the metaverse, zero trust is the most effective way to reduce or erase the theft of sensitive information.

AI will also play a critical role in safeguarding the metaverse in multiple ways. For example, AI-driven cybersecurity tools can analyze user behavior patterns across the network.

Decentralization technologies will likely be the go-to method when it comes to protecting user identities and intellectual property rights. Decentralization is a crucial tenet of Web 3.0, with the idea being to restore user identities, data and property to their rightful owners, thereby putting power back in the hands of users. 

If you’re considering using the metaverse, consider your online security, too.