As per Trend Micro, the “darkverse” will resemble a metaverse version of the dark web, enabling threat actors to coordinate and carry out illegal activities with impunity. Underground marketplaces operating in the “darkverse” would be impossible for police to infiltrate without the correct authentication tokens. Because users can only access a “darkverse” world if they are inside a designated physical location, there is an additional level of protection for closed criminal communities. This could provide a haven for multiple threats to flourish—from financial fraud and e-commerce scams to NFT theft, ransomware, and more.
As per the report, cybercriminals might look to compromise the “digital twin” spaces run by critical infrastructure operators, for sabotage or extortion of industrial systems. Although a fully-fledged metaverse is still some years away, metaverse-like spaces will be commonplace much sooner. Trend Micro’s report seeks to start an urgent dialog about what cyber threats to expect and how they could be mitigated.
“We have witnessed an accelerated stage of evolution in technology, with the metaverse providing a new dynamic to how we see the world,” said Dr. Moataz Bin Ali, Area Vice President and Managing Director, MEA for Trend Micro. “Even though there has been a healthy progression, we are still in the early phases of incorporating the experiences of the metaverse into our daily lives. The unpredictability of the modern digital era has prompted us to take a proactive approach and prepare for malicious actors who are seeking to exploit vulnerabilities in the metaverse. Trend Micro will continue to explore, innovate, and build solutions that resiliently safeguard the region's digital journey against modern-day threats as cybersecurity becomes a top priority for organizations.”
The top five metaverse threats outlined in the report are:
NFTs will be hit by phishing, ransomware, 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.
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 within the metaverse.