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Digital Identity Protection is Critical for Metaverse Innovation

MIT Tech Review | Sep 12, 2022

Metaverse digital identity protection is critical - Digital Identity Protection is Critical for Metaverse InnovationAs immersive experiences in the metaverse become more sophisticated, so does the threat landscape.

Current state:  If today’s metaverse were a shopping mall, you could visit any number of department stores, each with its own rich selection of products and experiences.

  • You could pop into virtual platforms like Roblox to buy a new outfit for your avatar or stop by Decentraland to gauge the latest valuation of digital real estate.
  • You couldn’t, however, take your Roblox avatar into Decentraland or to a VR movie on another brand’s platform. The hallways, elevators, kiosks, and reference maps—the infrastructure that makes it possible to carry your shopping bags from store to store—are still being built.

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  • Another unfinished element of the metaverse is its security: the guards, the CCTV cameras, the shoplifting alarms. Common cybersecurity protocols—the technologies equivalent to the “https” of today’s internet—are still a work in progress in the metaverse. So too are the governance standards that will protect your privacy, property—and perhaps most importantly—identity.

Threats and opportunities:  Even in today’s 2D version of the internet, digital identity is a complicated affair.

  • Phishing has become so sophisticated that an email from your bank, a call from your auto insurer, or even a text message from your mother may not be what it seems. The immersive nature of the metaverse, however, may set the stage for even more elaborate forms of identity theft or mimicry.
  • Identity protection will be a critical part of successful business operations in the metaverse—and it’s an especially important consideration for those getting in on the ground floor.
  • David Truog, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, points out that the metaverse will be the next iteration of the internet—and like the early web, it will go through some growing pains.
  • In the metaverse, the role of cybersecurity in establishing similar interactions will be “an order of magnitude or two” more important, says Truog. As such, first movers in the space are in a unique position to anticipate security gaps and build in safeguards from the get-go.


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Jeff Schilling, global chief information security officer, Teleperformance:

The threat of social engineering will potentially be even more effective in a 3D world, where deepfakes will be prevalent and an imposter is even more capable of tricking victims.  No matter the medium— telephone or metaverse—the best way to resist social engineering is by having a foolproof way to validate who is on the other end of the conversation.

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