How to ensure data security in the metaverse
Much is said about the metaverse and the possibilities it brings with it. Or that it will incorporate in the future. But less is said about the challenges we face. For example, on issues as sensitive today as privacy and security. We have long known that on the Internet, the most precious product is information, the data generated by users. The advertising, marketing and accounts of many companies are governed thanks to this precious asset. The question is, if on the Internet, it already costs keep safe information, what will happen in the metaverse?
An article from the Spanish Data Protection Agency hits the nail on the head. “The use of the metaverse can be very intrusive, since the set of data being processed increases exponentially.” Furthermore, the very nature of the metaverse constantly generates data. In the virtual worlds of the metaverse, “human experiences are translated into a digital data processing through simulations. The article itself says that “any virtual environment is by design fully dataified and allows a broader spectrum of information relating to human activities to be processed”.
Or put another way. Just as everything you do on the Internet becomes data, more or less protected, the same thing happens in the metaverse. and being a more immersive and interactive space, the data generated is larger and more delicate. How to limit what data we want to share? Is it possible to limit that exposure to a virtual world in which our movements, actions and experiences are quantifiable in data? Is the security of that information safe?
The balance between control and immersion
Far from wanting to demonize current technology or wanting to alarm, it is interesting to see how we have internalized certain practices related to our privacy and the devices we use daily. For example, thanks to mobile phone we can contact whoever we want, obtain information in real time or perform previously impossible tasks such as watching movies, listening to music, playing games or writing a document and sending it to your boss. But it has counterparts. How does your phone know where are you and where have you been. That without counting the large amount of information that we store.
The amount of data quantifiable by electronic devices has increased considerably. For good. But, at the end of the day, it is data that must be protected. With smart watches and bracelets, we get biometric data useful for our health. It is common to see news of people who had an accident, a fall or a health problem detected in time thanks to their wearable devices.
And if we talk about the metaverse, the neural interfaces of the future and the current virtual reality cases allow us to obtain all kinds of information about us. Movements, postures, emotional responses, state of health… A endless biometric data which should be used with caution and only for the use to which we have consented.
Privacy and information security in the metaverse
It is inevitable that in the metaverse we will run into some of the same security problems that we already have on the Internet. The most important are those that have to do with fraud and identity theft. The more data and information that leaks from the activities we carry out in the metaverse, the easier it will be for someone who wants to obtain our bank details or impersonate us to obtain data from others for various purposes.
On the other, the responsible for virtual worlds that make up the metaverse and the derived services must guarantee the correct use of the information and data generated or provided by users. An important responsibility to avoid problems related to mass surveillance, loss of privacy or discrimination for various reasons.
In a recent article I commented that the metaverse is governed by the laws of the physical world. Hence the importance of consulting the legal documents that every Internet company must publish on its official pages. Especially, those that have to do with our privacy and with the use made of our data.
Data security in the metaverse
When talking about the metaverse, the concept of blockchain usually comes up associated. As we saw in a previous article, blockchain technology she’s so sure. Come on, with the blockchain, information security should be safe. But although in the future practically the entire metaverse will be based on this technology, at present it is not quite so. And although the blockchain is very secure, it is not 100% effective.
Let’s go by parts. There are elements of the metaverse that are based on blockchain. To begin with, to access the services and associated virtual worlds, you must have a wallet or crypto wallet. This security element replaces the current classic user IDs. You also have to have a username and password, but there are more elements involved, which makes the user identification Safer.
They are also governed by the blockchain elements of virtual worlds such as avatars, objects and, in general, any virtual thing likely to be part of the user’s interaction with the metaverse. These items, typically NFTs, can be purchased using virtual currencies, cryptocurrencies, or tokens. Both based on blockchain.
But going back to the above, much of the data generated in the metaverse is not stored using the blockchain. Histories, caches, databases and a multitude of information that is stored following current methods that, although theoretically safe, can be victims of robberies or attacks by cyber criminals. Data that, on the other hand, is guarded by the companies responsible for the metaverse.
For our part, we can do little for the security of information stored on external servers. But that little bit is important. To begin with, we must be cautious with our passwords and wallets. Prevent them from falling into the wrong hands. It is also advisable to log in to the official pages and not access links that have been sent to us through unofficial channels. And always activate the two step verification on any page where we need to log in. Finally, avoid public WiFi connections if we are going to deal with sensitive information. And as always, common sense.