Cybersecurity software company Trend Micro has released a new report warning of a “darkverse” of criminality hidden from law enforcement, which could quickly evolve to fuel a new industry of metaverse-related cybercrime. The report outlines a comprehensive list of threats that include some that are applicable today and others that will be applicable in three to five years.
The top five metaverse threats outlined in the report are:
- NFTs will be hit by phishing, ransom, fraud and other attacks, which will be increasingly targeted as they become an important metaverse commodity to regulate ownership.
- The darkverse will become the go-to place for conducting illegal/criminal activities because it will be difficult to trace, monitor and infiltrate by law enforcement. In fact, it may be years before police catch up.
- Money laundering using overpriced metaverse real estate and NFTs will provide a new outlet for criminals to clean cash.
- Social engineering, propaganda and fake news will have a profound impact in a cyber-physical world. Influential narratives will be employed by criminals and state actors targeting vulnerable groups who are sensitive to certain topics.
- Privacy will be redefined, as metaverse-like space operators will have unprecedented visibility into user actions – essentially when using their worlds, there will be zero privacy as we know it.
“The metaverse is a multibillion-dollar hi-tech vision that will define the next internet era,” says Bill Malik, vice president of infrastructure strategies for Trend Micro. “Although we don’t know exactly how it will develop, we need to start thinking now about how it will be exploited by threat actors. Given the high costs and jurisdictional challenges, law enforcement will struggle to police the metaverse in general in its early years. The security community must step in now or risk a new Wild West to develop on our digital doorstep.”