The potential for merging the physical and virtual realms, both by properly reflecting the physical in the virtual world and enhancing the actual world with virtual data and items, is awe-inspiring to proponents of the metaverse. They believe that by doing so, people will be able to work, interact, and even worship in a setting where physical and digital borders are blurred and porous.
Although the consumer-facing version of the metaverse is still more of a concept than a reality, concerns have been raised about the possibility of cybercriminals and others with malicious intent using it for criminal purposes, such as fraud, disinformation, money laundering, or child exploitation.
To put it another way, no technology has ever been devised that did not have the potential for both good and terrible, and the metaverse will be no exception. It might serve as a fertile ground for recruiting, whether into criminal gangs or terrorist cells.
In recent years, the internet has evolved into the primary source of recruiting for all forms of modern extremism. The metaverse threatens to compound the situation by making it even simpler to meet up. Indeed, with advances in technology such as deep fake films, terrorists may be revived in digital form to give seminars and attract the new generation of extremists.
For many years, the internet has offered a variety of social tools to assist groups in communicating and coordinating activities. Indeed, the usage of encrypted chat apps for the purpose of coordinating operations has been well documented, mainly when the acts are unlawful and participants want to avoid being discovered.
Given its ability to generate precise reproductions of physical surroundings, the metaverse has the potential to make things even more serious. Augmented reality might be utilized to provide guidance or identify targets during the actual attack.
The fact that this coordination may take place from anywhere in the world is one thing, but the terrorist might also carry out their virtual acts using an avatar that could take on any form they like, allowing them to remain anonymous.
New available options
With the rise of virtual and mixed reality spaces, new types of attacks on new targets are becoming more likely. Any possible virtual world festivals or events would be an obvious target, albeit with far fewer consequences than attacks on similar events in the physical world.
While such attacks may cause only minor physical harm, the large sums of money being exchanged for virtual products and virtual real estate could result in significant financial losses for the victims.
As society has a better understanding of what the metaverse can do, it will hopefully also develop a better understanding of the potential harm that bad individuals might wreak. While there have been rumblings about firms being better corporate citizens, it’s probable that state and law enforcement authorities will be required to truly ensure that the metaverse is a safe area.
We are probably a few years away from these threats becoming a major concern for society, but that gives us time to prepare the ground and ensure that the platform does not become a force for evil in the world.