Hacking the Metaverse: Cybersecurity Challenges in Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Environments

14 September 2023 6 minutes Author: Newsman

What is the metaverse? And why is there so much hype around him

The metaverse is currently being actively discussed by technology companies, marketers and analysts, calling it the future of the Internet.

Mark Zuckerberg announced the recruitment of 10,000 workers who will be engaged in the development of new technology in the EU. The concept is attracting the attention and money of many tech giants, including Facebook and Epic Games.

Facebook will hire thousands of people to work on the Metaverse. What kind of project is this?

Facebook plans to hire 10,000 employees in the countries of the European Union for the development of the so-called Metauniverse.

A metaverse is an online world where people can work, play, and communicate in a virtual environment using VR headsets—virtual reality headsets or glasses. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is the main sponsor of the project. “Superverse will help unlock new economic, social and creative opportunities,” Facebook said in a statement.

And Europeans will shape it from the very beginning.” The new jobs to be created over the next five years will include “highly skilled engineers”. According to Facebook, investing in the EU brings many benefits, including access to a large consumer market, world-class universities and highly skilled talent.

This announcement was made in the context of many scandals surrounding this social network and calls to manage the activities and influence of Facebook. Facebook has now made building the Metaverse one of its top priorities. Despite its history of acquiring competing companies, Facebook says Metaverse will not be created by one company “overnight.” The company recently invested $50 million to fund non-profit groups to help “responsibly build the Metaverse.”

According to predictions, the Metaverse development process could take 10 to 15 years. Some critics say the latest job offer is aimed at rebuilding Facebook’s reputation and distracting from a series of scandals. Among them is an exhibition by Frances Hogen, who previously worked as a manager at Facebook. She told a US Senate hearing that websites and apps developed by the company “harm children, sow discord and undermine democracy.”

His speech on Capitol Hill coincided not only with a surge of accusations against Facebook, but also with the largest outage of services developed by the company. In his Senate speech, Hogen also criticized Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, saying he has unlimited power at the company and “no one can hold him accountable but himself.”

What is the metaverse?

On the surface, it looks like a slightly more immersive version of virtual reality (VR), but many believe that the metaverse is the future.

The metaverse and virtual reality technology are almost as interconnected as today’s smartphones and the first bulky cell phones of the 1980s. Instead of computers, Metaverse offers virtual reality headsets to immerse you in the world.

Virtual worlds combine digital environments. Unlike today’s virtual reality, which is mainly used for gaming, this virtual world can be used for almost anything – work conferences, games, concerts, watching movies – or just relaxing. You will be in this world as a 3D avatar. But since it’s only a concept at this point, there’s no single definition of the superuniverse.

Why such excitement?

The buzz surrounding the digital world and augmented reality returns every few years, but usually dies down. This time, however, the idea of a metaverse has stirred up wealthy investors and big tech companies.

If this suddenly becomes the future of the Internet, no one will want to be left out. And for the first time, the technological side and achievements in the field of VR games seem ready to implement such a project.

The role of Facebook

Facebook has made the creation of a metaverse one of its priorities.

The tech giant is investing heavily in development that can be entered using the Oculus headset. Although some analysts consider these investments unprofitable. The social network also develops VR applications for virtual meetings and business conferences, including those that interact with the real world.

Facebook has said that the metaverse “will not be created overnight by one company.” The company promised cooperation. He recently invested $50 million in funding for nonprofit groups that seek to “responsibly build the superverse.”

However, according to Facebook, the idea of a super universe will become possible no earlier than in 10-15 years. And for the first time, the technological side and achievements in the field of VR games seem ready to implement such a project.

Who else is interested in the metaverse?

The idea of a superuniverse has long been mentioned by Tim Sweeney, the boss of Epic Games (the company that produces Fortnite). Multiplayer online games have been using interactive worlds for decades. It’s not exactly a super universe, but there are some similarities.

In recent years, Fortnite has expanded its offerings by hosting concerts, corporate events, and more in its own digital world. The possibility of this surprised many people and drew attention to the concept of a superuniverse that Mr. Sweeney spoke about.

Other games also deal with the idea of a superuniverse. For example, Roblox is a platform for thousands of individual games connected to a larger ecosystem. Meanwhile, 3D game development platform Unity is investing in “digital twins,” digital copies of the real world. And graphics company Nvidia is creating Omniverse, described as a platform for connecting virtual worlds in 3D.

Is it just about games?

No. Although there are many concepts of what a metauniverse should be, most of them are based on human interaction. Facebook, for example, has been experimenting with a virtual reality meeting app called Workplace and a social space called Horizons. Both programs are based on virtual avatar systems.

Another VRChat app that is completely focused on online communication and chatting, with the sole purpose of exploring the environment and meeting people.

Tim Sweeney recently told the Washington Post that he envisions a world in which an automaker, when promoting a new model, “throws it into a virtual universe and anyone can drive it.” Or, for example, you shop online and try on clothes in a digital environment before ordering.

Does the technology already exist?

In recent years, virtual reality technology has taken a huge step forward. High-quality headsets have appeared that are capable of realistically reproducing the player’s movements in virtual space. The technology has also become more popular, and the Oculus Quest 2 VR gaming headset has become a popular Christmas gift in 2020.

The explosion of interest in NFTs, which can provide reliable tracking of ownership of digital assets, has shown how the virtual economy will evolve. A more advanced digital world will require better and more consistent communications, such as 5G technology.

For now, this is just the beginning stages. The evolution of the metauniverse—if it happens—will take place among the technological giants over the next decade, perhaps even longer.

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