Metaverses trigger exponential growth
Deep web technologies can be a tad pricey, and the metaverse overrides them all because it converges a bunch of emerging technologies like blockchain, IoT devices, and 5G to deliver an immersive 3D experience. From development to transmission, the needs are far superior, which is precisely why there will be a 360-degree development with this iteration of digital communication.
Since metaverses deliver real-time virtual 3D experiences, they demand enormous computing power and real-time connectivity, which was impossible to achieve with the 3G and 4G architectures. As a matter of fact, the currently used 3/3X 5G architecture will also have to be replaced within the next couple of years, but it sure does the job while the metaverse is in its adoption stages.
According to Gartner, 25% of people will spend at least an hour in the metaverse by 2026, which seems plausible given that the big tech companies are investing billions of dollars in the metaverse landscape. To accelerate growth and facilitate ingenious network infrastructure, cloud computing giants like Microsoft and IBM are partnering up with telcos.
Despite the exponential growth pattern, personal data privacy advocates are constantly lashing out at the potential threats metaverses tend to pose. A lot of this comes from the fact that metaverses use AR/VR hardware devices that collect biometric data, which is then transmitted to the application over the 5G network.
Need to bolster personal data security in the metaverses
Personal data and emerging technologies have always locked horns, and the same pattern continues as the big tech companies foray into the world of metaverses. Back in 2013, Google rolled out its flagship smart glasses called Google Glass, which delivered an augmented reality experience, but received a lot of flak over privacy concerns and was eventually banned. Since then, a lot has changed and the world is now embracing metaverses, a confluence of emerging technologies that deliver not just AR but also VR experiences and therefore require much higher security standards.
Metaverses are microeconomies built within 3D environments, which demand high-level security.
Besides personal data, the platform’s native medium of exchange, which is often a cryptocurrency or a token, must also be protected. The same applies to digital assets like virtual lands, skins, accessories, and other assets that are tokenized using NFTs.
These are designed to be monetized and, in most cases, will require fiat currency to make the payments at least during the initial phase and that again requires a secure exchange of data. Since financial data is attributed to personal biometrics like iris and fingerprints, unauthorized access to such personal data can be fatal.
Internet proliferation paved the way for e-communication forms such as emails, voice chats, web conferences, and now 3D interactions in the metaverses. However, like Web 2.0, even this operates on the internet, which is a public network open to everyone. On the internet, the data is transmitted in the form of data packets and needs to be secured end-to-end.
Just like the metaverses, Web 2.0 also posed this security threat, which was overcome by utilizing the SSL and then the TSL encryption layers. Although these protocols facilitate secure data exchange, they do cause a certain degree of latency. The metaverse needs a more advanced solution because there is no scope for latency here, as all the interactions must occur in real-time. Plus, the files exchanged are larger, and the personal data collected is more sensitive. This is where 5G architecture comes in and below is a snapshot of what this generation of connectivity brings to the table.
Core technologies and network infrastructure
The metaverse is a virtual realm built with two main components — the hardware device and the application developer ecosystem — that are tied together with the 5G technology. Now, this brings along numerous security challenges that can be broadly classified into device, SGI/N6 and external roaming, air interface, RAN, backhaul, 5G packet core, and OAM threats.
To sum it up, these threats magnify the possibilities of three forms of attacks — IoT attacks, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), and Man-in-the-Middle (MiTM) attacks.
IoT Attacks Spike up
Gartner states that 20% of organizations using IoT devices have already faced security threats, and this is expected to increase as more people use IoT devices to connect to the metaverses. According to Kaspersky, by 2025, there will be 27 billion IoT devices, which is plausible given the current 5G connectivity and the accelerated growth of metaverses.
DDoS Attacks Create A Ruckus
For quite some time, the cyber world has feared DDoS attacks that can take down even the most promising businesses by causing server crashes, which only stop when the ransom is paid. Interestingly, attacks on higher data volumes have increased by 967%. So, the trend is likely to continue as the metaverses become more common.
Disruptive MiTM Attacks
As discussed earlier, data is transmitted over the internet through data packets, which when intercepted, causes Man in the Middle (MiTM) attacks that can be used to dupe fiat and crypto owners. In the web 2.0 era also, the MiTM was a big deal and was used for several purposes ranging from financial crimes to ransom and even for economic espionage. It was even used to take down competitors by deliberately causing downtime, which resulted in billions of dollars worth of losses. However, it gets worse in the metaverse because more components are connected, so the attack surface greatly expands.