People are working on metaverse digital identity security and none too soon
The earliest days of the commercial internet, the huge majority of talk was marketing hype, not data security and privacy.
Today, at the same time in the metaverse‘s development, a bit more is being said about it. Among the points of common emphasis is the need to lock down users’ digital identities. It is not just experience talking, some of the dangers waiting for the metaverse are unique and uniquely concerning.
A white paper by French-based online customer-account service firm Teleperformance sees the metaverse as a “patchwork of individual companies’ siloed experiences,” a description that will be familiar to those who enjoyed the dawn of the commercial internet.
Horizontal infrastructure to make digital ID portable is currently lacking. Soon people will begin falling victim to new social-engineering cons. The paper notes that attacks on the internet today are scarily capable of convincing people they are talking to someone familiar when they decidedly are not.
The metaverse will see sophisticated attacks using deepfakes that will impersonate avatars and convince people to part with personal data, including biometric identifiers.
The open-source Open Metaverse Interoperability Group is working to create intuitive paths between businesses, and the white paper urges it and other infrastructure groups to build cybersecurity into the fabric of the new alternate plane of existence.
In fact, the germ group of any metaverse startup should be a security person who has experience with the cloud, because at least some of what is used there – including encryption — will be boilerplate development steps.
If it seems a little early to worry about, Estonia already has put its business-facing functions online, allowing anyone on the globe to start a business on its secured servers. People can apply for e-residency, according to Carmen Raal, an advisor helping the nation create e-Estonia.
There are about 95,000 non-citizen e-residents and they have started 22,000 companies on government servers. A subset of those e-residents is paying Estonia taxes, which in 2021 amounted to €32 million, which is on par with the U.S. dollar.
Reacting to a 2007 cyberattack, says Raal in an article in trade publication Digiday, the government tasked its cryptography employees to create a native blockchain. It is “our trust anchor,” she says. So far, only health and justice information are on the blockchain.
Naturally, some might dismiss the efforts of one small Baltic nation, but every problem the developers there solve will have to be faced by larger entities. Scale will not make anyone immune to digital identity scams, for example.
Not that Raal feels Estonia is rushing into the metaverse. She says the national government is studying it, looking for how it can make administering the nation more efficient.
On a smaller scale, there are universities testing these waters, according to Martha Boeckenfeld, a tech evangelist. Conveniently, she also is a dean and partner at the Metaverse Academy. The school appears to be owned by CodeIdeas, which is teaching people how to create in the metaverse.
Boeckenfeld, like Teleperformance, sees digital identity as an intrinsic component of Web3.