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Metaverse Security – Part 2

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Read Time: 7 minutes

With the world taking a technological shift, Metaverse is the gateway to virtualizing meetings and socializing with an immersive 3D experience. 

Interestingly, one of the studies reveals that by 2026, visiting Metaverse to work, shop, play, learn, etc., will be a part of daily life to experience the sophistication and comforts that virtuality offers. 

Big shots like Coca-Cola and Nike have already got their brands into Metaverse to make their brand presence felt everywhere. 

Although the significance of Metaverse drives greater benefits to users, the security gaps pose a greater hindrance debarring the entry of millions. 

A broad classification of the various security concerns and measures to meet them is going to be the talk of the blog. 

Metaverse Security – Part 2

Threat Issues With Authentication And Access Control

Creating digital identities in Metaverse allows users to reinvent their identities as avatars to represent themselves in the virtual space. 

The freedom to design their avatars to suit different ambiences like gaming, shopping, etc. doesn’t fail to awe the enthusiastic users. 

However, reflecting users’ personalities as avatars in Metaverse encounters a set of challenges, such as identities being impersonated or stolen. Let’s find out the threats and how to resolve them.

Identity theft: Stealing the user’s identity enables the attacker to know about the digital life of the avatar, such as the linked digital assets, social life, secret keys to wallets, etc. The attacker uses the stolen information to perform ruthless crimes and frauds.

Impersonation: Any attacker can pretend to be an authorized entity to gain hold of the service in the Metaverse. For example, the gathered behavioural and biological information is stolen by exploiting the Oculus helmet users wear to make digital replicas.

Authentication issues: Verifying the avatar in Metaverse is done through recognizing facial features, voice and so on. This gives rise to AI bots that imitate the appearance, voice and behaviours disguising the original avatar identity.

Unauthorized use of user/avatar data: It is important to have the facility to ensure fast, efficient and trusted cross-platform transfer of assets between different asset exchanges or blockchains. This uplifts concerns about interoperability issues. 

Furthermore, the real-time data transfer into the Metaverse is prone to attacks if unauthorized individuals gain access to it.

Effective Security Recommendations For Authentication And Access Control

The centralized systems or semi-centralized organisations controlling the data flow in the Metaverse may lead to SPoF risks or alleviate the authentication issues in cross-domain operations. A self-sovereign identity model controlled by individual users can surpass the potential challenges.

The Self-sovereign model must be able to possess,

  • Scalability to massive users
  • Resilience to node damage
  • Interoperability across various sub-metaverse
  1. Care should be taken to manage wearable helmets such as Oculus, HoloLen, etc., to establish secure communication for delivering sensory data.
  2. Wearable devices are to be designed with secure-proof features such as password change and smart card revocation functions for identity authentication.
  3. The user-created content in the Metaverse can be created under efficient UGC access control and usage audit schemes.

Threat Issues With Data Management

Data Tampering: Throughout the cycle of metaverse data services, the raw data is susceptible to forging, replacing or removing key information. This interrupts the normal activities of the users and avatars.

False data injection: AI-based models improve user immersiveness; injecting false data and wrong instructions could lead to biased AI models. This could have serious impacts, such as causing bodily pain for the user while wearing helmets.

Ownership issues of user-created content: To save costs, some avatars may produce low-quality contents that undermine the user experience by giving the inaccurate content recommendation. This leads to a poor and unrealistic experience in the Metaverse for the users.

Effective Security Recommendations To Data Management

  1. Implementing techniques such as virtual adversarial learning, adversarial reinforcement learning, and adversarial transfer learning help AI resist adversarial threats in Metaverse.
  2. Use of permissioned blockchain technology to enable trusted digital twin service transactions between virtual service providers and service requesters.
  3. Data provenance can help trace the archives of user-generated content to evaluate data quality/data source and conduct audit trails to the data-oriented subjects.

Threat Issues Related To Networking

As the metaverse evolves from traditional internet to incorporating wireless communication technology leads to the following threats.

SPoF: The metaverse construction on cloud-based systems threatens physical root server damage or DDoS attacks. It also brings the transparency and trust-free transfer of digital assets to question. 

DDoS: Metaverse consists of tiny wearable devices leveraged by attackers that lead to compromise in metaverse end devices. The attacks are carried out by overwhelming the centralized server with huge traffic, which causes DDoS scenarios like network outage and service unavailability.

Sybil Attack: By manipulating the stolen identities, the hacker gains wider influence on metaverse services like blockchain consensus, voting-based governance service, etc. and compromises the system effectiveness. This also means blocking the effective nodes of the blockchain network in the metaverse from making the right decision for the platform.

Effective Security Recommendations To Network Related Issues

  1. Taking up reactive defenses for timely attack trapping of unknown and new threats in the metaverse. This can be achieved through auditing the code by the experts.
  2. Introducing algorithms to solve the game puzzles offers solutions to defend against large-scale distributed attacks.

Threat Issues To The Metaverse Economy

Virtual object trading: There lie inherent fraud risks in the open metaverse marketplace during virtual object trading, such as selling digital duplicates to earn profits. Attackers also exploit the smart contracts’ reentrancy flaws to commit fraud in metaverse space.

Digital asset ownership: The distributed metaverse system increases the chance for discrepancies in pricing, trusted trading, and ownership traceability because of the absence of regulatory bodies. 

NFTs that are designed with indivisible and tamper-proof traits encounter threats in the form of ransomware, scams and phishing attacks. Attackers may mint the same NFTs multiple times or cash out after inflating the values of NFTs to gain humongous benefits. 

Economy fairness to digital creators: Breaking the demand-supply chain in the digital market by overclaiming the bid to manipulate and win the auction market, unfairly gaining access to metaverse services by submitting meaningless local updates compromises the sustainability of the creator economy.

Effective Security Recommendations For Economic Fairness

The Creator economy is the most vital component that is the source of creations in the metaverse. Therefore it is necessary for them to be built on decentralized frameworks to prevent centralized risks. 
While building on a decentralized network, these measures have to be undertaken to maintain sustainability and secure open creativity in the metaverse.

  1. Auditing smart contracts: The smart contract codes play a crucial role in the decentralized working of the auction process, asset ownership transfer and many other activities. These codes must be audited by renowned companies such as QuillAudits to assess the impact of potential threats in the contracts. This greatly reduces the chances of exploiting the space to steal millions. 
  2. Smart contracts and NFT must be coded and reviewed with utmost diligence for privacy, price manipulation, usability and security.
  3. Design suitable incentive mechanisms for the asset that’s being circulated in the space to profit the creator economy.

Threats Related To Metaverse Governance

The following threats may deteriorate the efficiency and security of the metaverse due to a lack of norms and regulations.

Virtual crimes: Virtual crimes include stalking, spying on an avatar, using abusive language by avatar, virtual harassment and so on. All these arise from the lack of regulations in the metaverse space.

Misbehaving regulators: Regulatory authorities who are supposed to maintain discipline in the metaverse may misbehave. Automatic regulations such as the ones enforced by smart contracts without the reliance on trusted intermediary bodies offer a promising solution. 

Digital Forensics: The interoperability of real and virtual worlds with diverse behaviour patterns and no clear boundary confuses between the truth and false. Using this bad actor may produce false information, fake faces, and videos via AI algorithms. 

Effective Security Recommendations For Metaverse Governance

  1. Integrating digital governance: The public metaverse governance can be brought by autonomous dictation of legal norms achieved through smart contracts that can be transparent and community-driven. 
    Blockchain can be used for potential decentralized governance solutions that straightforwardly employ smart contracts and directly hand over administrative rights to the users. This promotes an open environment to satisfy diverse user needs. 
  1. AI governance: The AI approach can detect misbehaving entities and abnormal Sybil accounts in the metaverse. However, the effectiveness of AI in detection accuracy can be biased and unfair. 

Final note,

Getting rid of the underlying security threats and strengthening the flaws could drive the emergence of a future trust-free metaverse world like never before. 

FAQs

Why is interoperability important in the metaverse?

Interoperability is the ability of the users to connect and interact with different virtual worlds. Metaverse interoperability is crucial to link a larger number of people, which leads to a massive rise in rewarding opportunities. 

Why should metaverse be decentralized?

Decentralization gives more power to users to take control of their virtual experience. It allows users to have safety, less manipulation of data and increased privacy.

How are smart contracts used in the metaverse?

Smart contracts in the metaverse ensure the actions are carried out according to the predetermined rules in a secured way without inspection by any authorities. Shortly said, smart contracts automate the execution of activities in the metaverse.

Why are smart contract audits important?

Smart contract coding flaws bring about serious security issues that lead to the loss of stored crypto assets. Therefore, auditing helps to spot the vulnerabilities of smart contracts and acts as a shield to prevent attacks. 

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  • Source: https://blog.quillhash.com/2022/09/14/metaverse-security-part-2/
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