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How to ensure a secure metaverse in your organization

Before deploying your company's metaverse, follow these practices -- including inventorying vulnerabilities and developing T&Cs -- to proactively address metaverse security issues.

As companies deploy their own metaverses, it is critical to consider how they will protect users and data. This involves addressing a number of metaverse cybersecurity concerns, from communication security and data accuracy to authentication and privacy.

Follow the four steps below to ensure the secure use of metaverse in your organization.

1. Identify all vulnerabilities that could exist

Keep a list of all the vulnerabilities and risks that may ensue. Some vulnerabilities worth noting include the following:

  • headset vulnerabilities;
  • location spoofing;
  • identity spoofing; and
  • hosting metaverse platform issues.

Before adopting the metaverse, place someone in charge of security for it. They will be responsible for understanding the different vulnerabilities that come with the metaverse. Job responsibilities include documenting questions and issues as they arise.

After completing a list of vulnerabilities, create a schedule to periodically revisit and update the list. If the person handling security recognizes an issue and recommends delaying the launch of a metaverse service, they must have the power and responsibility to do so.

2. Develop metaverse terms and conditions

Create strong terms and conditions to build a successful community. This includes the following:

  • Administrative hotline. Ensure customers have access to platform administrators who can intervene to suspend or expel members from the metaverse.
  • Unique skins for users. To prevent or minimize avatar takeover, require each member in the metaverse to use a unique avatar skin -- maybe via non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to make it harder to duplicate. This also minimizes identity fraud.

3. Moderate your organization's metaverse

Once the metaverse is up and running, create a moderation team that provides the following:

  • Active monitoring. Have dedicated staff look at conversations, tones and reactions and intervene before potential issues emerge.
  • Customer service for users. Providing great customer service is a good way to ensure first-time and returning users play by the rules, thereby reducing the risk to the overall property and other users.

4. Create a metaverse security and privacy policy

Before making services or products accessible in your metaverse property, provide users with clear security and privacy policies to adhere to. Some of this may already be part of the hosting metaverse platform provider's policies. As a property owner, however, your customers are your responsibility. Augment the hosting platform's policies with your own based on the features and services your property provides. Policies should address the following:

  • User data. Detail how you collect sensor, location, physiological and social data. The policy needs to state what data is collected and for how long as well as users' rights to access, download and delete personally identifiable information.
  • Communication. An augmented reality universe includes physical-to-virtual and virtual-to-virtual communications. In a VR universe, communication is all immersive virtual-to-virtual. Communication -- both solicited and unsolicited -- and user rights for both need to be articulated in a policy.
  • Ownership. Content generated by users in the metaverse can be varied, unique and monetizable. Referred to as virtual digital goods, these include NFTs and avatar skins. Malicious users assuming fake identities can wreak havoc and distrust in the property by stealing and claiming ownership of other users' virtual digital goods. This could lead to tangible business impact due to customer dissatisfaction. Use technology like blockchain for asset ownership tracking to manage content ownership.

As the metaverse becomes more prevalent, it will become a higher-value target for attackers, and the associated security challenges will compound. Being aware from the start and taking proactive action to build a secure metaverse will go a long way in mitigating these threats.

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