Metaverse Security- Part 1

Read Time: 5 minutes

We’re a little away from going into the fully digital where connecting, and face-to-face interaction with peers comes to your place without the need for moving around. 

The exceptional technology, a combination of AR, VR, AI, Blockchain, and NFTs, is unfolding its wings in the rise of the Metaverse world.

Many questions and speculations on Metaverse and its security surround the digital space. This blog is a guide to knowing the subtleties of the virtual future. 

Precisely put, the Metaverse concept wipes out the limitations of the physical boundaries to interact with each other. It offers a whole new exposure for the users and businesses to collaborate and operate. 

Let’s start with the basics of the comprising components of Metaverse, their underlying technology and then the security threats at each level. 

Brace up to decipher the dynamics of the metaverse space in the upcoming sections of the blog!

What is the Metaverse? 

The next phase of the evolution after the web and mobile internet brings forth the concept of the Metaverse, where users can transform themselves into digital natives and live in virtual reality.

The metaverse is nothing short of a real world that exists as a parallel virtual world clinging on to the state-of-the-art technologies of today’s times. 

Driven by the space and time constraints of today’s generation fuels the attraction to Metaverse for fulfilling the realistic demands feasibly. 

The creation of the Metaverse can be split into three phases.

  • Digital Twins
  • Digital natives
  • Surreality 

The first phase, Digital twins, is the replica of the real-world humans and objects contriving their properties and emotions as a digital representation. Reality and virtuality co-exist. 

The next phase, digital natives, offers endless possibilities for innovation and content creation to achieve commonalities between the physical and digital worlds. 

This leads to the final phase, surreality, where the scope of the virtual world is extended beyond the capabilities of the real world, and virtualism stands way ahead with more scenes brought to life. 

Formative Blocks Of Metaverse

Understanding the structural composition gives insight into the layers of the Metaverse, which is crucial to identifying the underpinning security threats. 

Characterized by the quality of immersiveness of the 3D virtual shared space, Metaverse achieves it through different components such as user-control avatars, NFTs for virtual assets and networking to interact and collaborate. 

The combination of different elements is elaborated in the upcoming lines. 

Humans: Metaverse is centred around providing the surrealistic experience of the virtual world to humans. The mix of psychological emotions and social interactions is inspired in the digital world and can be lived by humans through smart wearable devices (VR/AR helmets).

Humans can take control of the digital avatar to play, work, socialize and interact with the virtual entities leveraging the power of human-computer interaction(HCI) and extended reality (XR).

Physical world infrastructure support: The support system extends from perceiving the senses of the real world through sensors and information transmission through various wired and wireless networks to processing and caching the data via cloud-edge-end computing. 

The integration of smart objects, cellular communications, computation and storing capabilities are the supporting infrastructures for the Metaverse. 

Interlinkages in the virtual world: The digital world (i.e. metaverse) is the linkages of sub-metaverses, each offering types of virtual services (i.e. gaming, online concert, etc.). The virtual environments are showcased by combining digital avatars with other aspects.  

  • Digital avatars – Digital portrayal of the living beings in the metaverse
  • Virtual environments – 3D imaginary environments to experience alternate life
  • Virtual Goods – Possession of tradeable assets like digital currency, digital market in the metaverse

Information relay: Two main sources of information – the input data and output of virtual worlds play a crucial role in bringing forth the real-world experience. The input information is digitally fed into the metaverse via IoT-enabled sensors and actuators. 

The output generated by digital avatars and objects is transmitted for a vivid virtual experience to the users. All the IoT big data is processed and transmitted through the network and computational infrastructures. 

Metaverse engine: The metaverse engines run through the big data from the real world and feed them as inputs for digital interactivity using XR and brain-computer interaction(BCI). By this, digital avatars grasp the physical environments’ senses to enhance social activities such as car racing, virtual trading, etc. 

This process is driven by AI and blockchain technologies. AI for big data analytics to mirror the real world and blockchain for building economic value systems in the metaverse. 

Information Flow Across Alternate Worlds

  • Humans can interact and gain virtual experience through AR and VR helmets
  • The creation, sharing and knowledge acquisition between the physical and virtual world is obtained through the internet via smart devices 
  • IoT acts as the bridge for the free flow of information
  • Feedbacks information is processed for intelligent decisions on transforming the physical world

Technologies Energising The Metaverse

Digital Twin: Extended reality(XR) devices like helmet-mounted displays are the main terminal for users to enter the metaverse. Further inside, Virtual reality(VR) provides multi-sensory immersiveness, and AR presents experiences of virtual holograms, graphics, and videos of the real world. 

Digital twins make the exact clone of the objects and systems in the real world with high fidelity and precision. With the assistance of AI technology, digital twins can recreate the metaverse space with real-world attributes. 

Networking: Metaverse uses 6G for real-time, ultra-reliable communications. Software-defined networks (SDN) and space-air-ground integrated networks offer enhanced mobility support for seamless access to metaverse services.

Computing: Ubiquitous computing allows human users to interact freely with their avatars. It provides the highly-scalable cloud infrastructures and heterogeneous edge computing infrastructures for flexible usage across different metaverse applications. 

AI: AI is the brain of the metaverse, enabling smart interactions of the users and the avatars. AI learns the user’s choice from emotions, facial expressions, etc. and suggests personalized recommendations of goods and services in the metaverse based on their interests.

Blockchain: To be devoid of the risks of the specialized entities, decentralization is instilled through blockchain. Besides, blockchain adds value to the virtual economy through tradeable tokenized assets. 

An Overview Of Metaverse Security

Having to deal with every level of system and technology for the smooth functioning of the metaverse amplifies the existence of threats in the metaverse. 

The security vulnerabilities mushroom in various forms at the subsequent level. Here’s a skeleton of the security threats in the metaverse. 

Authentication and access control raises concerns over impersonation, identity theft, and misuse of avatar data. 

Data are generated and transmitted a massive amount, giving chances for data tampering attacks, false data, and ownership issues.

Privacy concerns about the confidentiality of data during collection, transmission, processing and storage in cloud devices

Networking side issues include SPoF attacks, DDoS attacks, Sybil attacks

Social infrastructure that has an impact on the user and social safety

Economy and governance threats

The next part of the blog covers a detailed description of the security challenges and countermeasures to overcome them. 

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