The Metaverse has become a hot topic of conversation over the past few years, with users excited about the new features and opportunities it can bring. But, as is the case with most technologies, cybercriminals have already found ways to exploit victims within the Metaverse. So, what types of reverse crimes and scams should you be aware of?
1. Abuse and Harassment
The internet is no stranger to inappropriate behavior, whether it be bullying, harassment, or bullying. But the Metaverse has taken the range of personal attacks online to a whole new level. Because the Metaverse uses virtual reality avatars to interact, a malicious user may attempt to physically attack a victim’s avatar in the virtual world.
Several users have already come forward with their assault experiences within the Metaverse, with some even saying that the assailant took screenshots or selfies of the incident as it happened. Of course, this kind of online attack can be incredibly upsetting, and many platforms are now trying to crack down on this type of behavior.
Verbal abuse is also a major concern in the Metaverse, as well as ongoing harassment. This is already the case on typical social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, but things could get even more extreme in a virtual reality setting. Many large platforms have already established a set of rules for inappropriate conduct within the metaverse. Take Decenterland, for example. This company has issued a code of conduct which all users have to follow while playing the game.
Phishing is a popular form of cybercrime across the web and is now being used in the metaverse space. In a typical phishing scam, a malicious actor will impersonate a trusted entity, such as a legitimate company, in order to deprive victims of data or money. The attack often involves some sort of link, provided by the malicious actor, that the victim will click on, thinking it is completely harmless. In fact, the link leads to a site designed to steal all inputted data.
In the metaverse, attackers will often impersonate well-known brands, such as Decentraland or Roblox, to gain the target’s trust and create a false air of legitimacy. For example, an attacker may pose as a user looking to sell virtual land, luring potential victims and swindling them of vitally important data, such as wallet private keys.
Cyber criminals can also develop fake Metaverse apps, which are specifically designed to steal data through phishing. It is important to check any Metaverse app or platform you wish to interact with before proceeding with the download. Running any links provided through a website checking whether the links are safe can also help you determine whether you are interacting with a malicious platform.
3. Money Laundering
The online money laundering industry is worryingly large, especially on illegal dark web marketplaces. Cryptocurrency, a key component within the metaverse, is a very popular type of asset used in money laundering, particularly because crypto is harder to track and de-anonymize than traditional money. Using the metaverse as a vector, a cybercriminal can successfully launder large amounts of cryptocurrency while avoiding detection. Even NFTs can be used for money laundering in the metaverse.
While cryptocurrency transactions are often recorded on a public blockchain, which displays the wallet addresses of the sender and receiver, some coins keep all transactions completely anonymous, such as Monero and Zcash. Such cryptos, known as privacy coins, are perfect for malicious actors looking to launder funds and stay under the radar of law enforcement.
4. Identity Theft
Thousands of people are victims of identity theft and fraud every month, and attackers make huge profits from this type of crime. Within the Metaverse, you have your own digital identity through your avatar. With this avatar, you can build relationships, buy land, and create your own virtual world. Some Metaverse users already harbor valuable digital assets, such as NFTs or cryptocurrencies, that cybercriminals are eyeing.