The dangers of the metaverse, from NFT phishing to the Darkverse

Trend Micro has carried out a study on how cybercriminals will be able to act in virtual reality

Trend Micro, a company specializing in cybersecurity, has published a new study entitled “Metaverse or MetaWorse? Cyber ​​Security Threats Against the Internet of Experiences “. The study highlights the threats of the metaverse, the virtual environment of play and work that promises to be the next great evolution of mass communications. First of all, Trend Micro points out that NFTs (single digital objects with buyer deeds, resalable) will be affected by phishing, ransom demands, fraud or other attacks and will be increasingly targeted as they become a important metaverse asset for property regulation. Just as it happens today for the dark web, the Darkverse will become the reference place for carrying out illegal and criminal activities because it will be difficult for the law enforcement agencies to track down, monitor or infiltrate it. Not only that: money laundering through the use of overstated real estate and NFTs in the metaverse will provide a new channel for criminals. Social engineering, propaganda and fake news will have a profound impact in a cyber-physical world. News stories or influential narratives will be employed by criminals or other entities to target groups sensitive to certain topics. Privacy will be redefined as operators of metaverse-like spaces will have unprecedented visibility into user actions. In other words, there will no longer be privacy as we know it.

“The metaverse is a multi-billion dollar hi-tech vision that will define the next Internet age. Although we don’t know exactly how it will develop, we need to start thinking now about how it will be exploited by cybercriminals ”. Said Gastone Nencini, Country Manager of Trend Micro Italia. “Given the high costs and jurisdictional challenges, law enforcement will generally find it difficult to monitor the metaverse in the early years. We need to take action now, otherwise we risk a new Wild West developing in our digital world. “As imagined by Trend Micro, the Darkverse will resemble a” metaverse “version of the dark web, and will allow cybercriminals to coordinate and carry out illegal activities with impunity. It would be impossible for the police to infiltrate underground markets operating in the Darkverse without the correct authentication tokens, and since users can only log in if they are within a designated physical location, there is an additional layer of protection for them. closed criminal communities. This could provide suitable coverage for the development of multiple threats, from financial fraud to e-commerce scams, to theft of NFTs, ransomware and more. The cyber-physical nature of the metaverse will also open new doors to cybercriminals, who could try to compromise the spaces managed by the operators of critical infrastructures with the aim of sabotage or extortion of industrial systems. Or they could attack users’ suits with malware to cause physical harm. “The assault on avatars” has already been reported on several occasions. A full-fledged metaverse is still a few years away, but metaverse-like spaces will be current much earlier.