Metaverse exploitation and abuse will increase in 2023: Kaspersky

Metaverse exploitation and abuse will increase in 2023: Kaspersky

Malware, ransomware attacks and phishing aren’t the only problems in the crypto industry, as Metaverse could become a major target next year, according to cybersecurity experts.

In its “Consumer cyberthreats: predictions for 2023” report on November 28, cybersecurity firm Kaspersky warned that there will be greater exploitation of the metaverse due to a lack of data protection and moderation rules.

Kaspersky acknowledged that there are currently only a handful of metaverse platforms, but the number of metaverses is set to expand in the coming years, and the market could even top $50 billion by 2026. This expansion will lure cybercriminals into the ecosystem trying to exploit unwitting virtual world participants:

“As the metaverse experience is universal and does not comply with regional data protection laws, such as GDPR, this can create complex conflicts between regulatory requirements regarding data breach notification.”

Social media is already a hotbed of hacking activity, so it’s only natural that the metaverse will be an extension of this. As reported by Cointelegraph earlier this year, social media was responsible for more than $1 billion in crypto fraud-related losses in 2021.

Kaspersky also predicted that virtual abuse and sexual assault will spill over into Metaverse ecosystems. It cited cases of “avatar rape and abuse,” adding that without safeguards or moderation rules, “this sinister trend is likely to follow us into 2023.”

Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, has already faced a lot of backlash over its metaverse ambitions due to the lack of user protection and privacy concerns on its social media platform.

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The report predicted that virtual currencies and valuable in-game items will be one of the “main targets” of cybercriminals who will attempt to hijack player accounts or trick them into fraudulent deals to obtain valuable virtual assets. Most modern games have introduced some form of monetization or digital currency support, which will become a honeypot for malicious actors.

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Kaspersky noted that new forms of social media will also bring more risk. It specifically mentioned a shift to augmented reality-based social media, adding that cybercriminals may begin “distributing fake trojanized applications” to infect devices for further malicious purposes.

Threats to new AR-based social media and metaverse platforms are primarily data and money theft, phishing and account hacking, the report concluded.