The Metaverse is an immersive digital world enabled by a range of technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, augmented reality, and augmented reality, which allows us to see and interact with objects and people. How will the metaverse affect cloud security? This virtual environment is supplemented by lifelike avatars that can reproduce the user’s real body through wearable sensors that measure the user’s movements, and immersive intelligent glasses that enable virtual and augmented reality. With these technologies, a user’s behavior in the real world will control their experience in the virtual world and vice versa.
Supporting the virtual universe requires significant computing and storage resources. These resources are readily available in the cloud. This predicted adoption of cloud services will lead to purpose-built cloud technologies, and purpose-built cloud technologies will serve the needs of the Metaverse.
Since clouds form the basis of the metaverse, in what ways will the metaverse affect cloud security?
Major security issues for the Metaverse:
Increase attack surface
In order for the virtual world to behave like the physical world, it must maintain constant online availability with real-time feedback and continuous operation. High-speed information transmission and computing systems support high-scale interactions. The ideal computing infrastructure for the Metaverse supports low latency and large data streams.
Technologies such as cloud computing, 5G, IoT, edge computing, and high-performance computing are ideal technologies to support the computing and processing needs of the Metaverse. Adopting these technologies in the Metaverse will require more devices to connect to the cloud and increase cloud infrastructure. Looking at this expansion from a security perspective, the increase in endpoints connected to the cloud will undoubtedly lead to an overall increase in the exposed attack surface.
For example, IoT devices are highly targeted vulnerability points for attackers. This is because they often contain weak security controls and portability – a recipe for infiltrating multiple networks. IoT botnets are not uncommon, and they may replicate in the metaverse. Attackers target botnets because they allow botnets to automatically distribute malware, reduce computing power by mining cryptocurrency, destroy data, and crash servers through DDoS attacks.
The metaverse is associated with the blockchain, the primary medium that allows digital goods to be traded in this virtual world. Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are the only cryptographic assets that represent physical or digital items as records on the blockchain. These frequently collected digital assets are stored in a similar way to physical property.
Because blockchain is probably the most popular form of payment in the metaverse. This makes its impact on cloud security an area to watch. NFTs are vulnerable to security breaches that allow users to access tokens and identities and conduct illegal transactions. Authentication vulnerabilities could allow an attacker to gain ownership of an NFT illegally, or an attacker could interfere with NFT media data and metadata to manipulate transactions.
Since some prefer the decentralized and cheap nature of blockchain storage, cloud providers have a responsibility to look more closely at how their enterprise infrastructure and services are related to these blockchains. Key to this consideration is enhancing the security of the keys and associated blockchains.
Additionally, these data can be enhanced with access control and authentication, thus enhancing the privacy of user data. In the metaverse, hash functions and asymmetric key encryption help keep data secure. AR and VR systems in the metaverse share a lot of data. This means cloud providers must ensure secure and seamless data sharing. Finally, blockchain provides data encoding capabilities that cloud providers can leverage.
While the concept of identity breaches is not revolutionary in the IT security world, it has been largely ignored in virtual worlds and other online environments. The rise of the internet age has made identity theft easier for attackers to perpetrate, but digital identity theft can have a greater impact when applied to the metaverse.
For example, digital identity theft can give criminals access to valuable data and control over assets stored in the metaverse. Cybercriminals can spoof identities, hack into accounts, and take over avatars. The impact isn’t just financial, it’s about reputation. The anonymity of the metaverse may allow attackers to feel protected and confident to expand such operations.
Fortunately, the Metaverse will need an identity and authentication mechanism to protect digital identities. To reduce cyber risk among users, authentication systems must evolve to adapt to changing network environments and prevent account takeovers in Web3. That said, the Metaverse itself offers many promising solutions to the challenge of digital identity theft.
For example, using virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) glasses or headsets in the metaverse provides an opportunity to develop new authentication tools and mechanisms. VR sensors can be configured to provide cutting-edge, unique biometric systems such as body movements, hand movements, and gestures.
Large amounts of personal data
The Metaverse will store vast amounts of user data. This includes information on how these consumers interact with the Metaverse, as well as personal information from AR, VR, and IoT devices. With the advent of these new devices, there are also increasing opportunities for attackers to gain access to personally valuable information. This is because they may not be aware that their phones or IoT devices are tracking them.
The latest sensors in the metaverse allow devices to collect more information than ever before. This includes biometric data such as fingerprints, retina scans, voice patterns, and conversation-based audio recordings, as well as smartwatches that can track blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature. The proliferation of sensitive personal data in and from the cloud will require Metaverse providers to take advantage of the cloud. This will require them to pay close attention to how they manage, share and store information.
Regardless of how regulators manage the processing of personal data in the metaverse, the technologies used to protect personally identifiable information in traditional cloud environments cannot be ignored. Consumers and organizations hosting Metaverse entities should consider using a hybrid cloud environment to improve privacy, reliability, scalability, and security.
Hybrid cloud solutions employ separate but connected architectures consisting of on-premises, private, and public environments. Users can choose to store confidential data or run sensitive workloads on private servers. Cryptographic APIs help protect workloads and data in transit between data centers and cloud environments. To minimize data exposure, it is recommended to host sensitive workloads in a private cloud and less sensitive workloads in a public cloud.
More connections, more challenges
The metaverse will be a key technology for many sectors and industries. However, as with any new technological advancement, security challenges will undoubtedly arise, namely the impact of the metaverse on cloud platforms.
The metaverse will lead to the connection of more devices in the cloud, expanding the digital attack surface of organizations and individuals. The use of blockchain as an inherent medium of exchange in virtual worlds also raises questions about security in the cloud. Identity theft and theft of personally identifiable information in the metaverse remain key areas of concern.