At this very moment, 400 million people worldwide are already actively living the meta life, with all its advantages and quite a few drawbacks. As with anything virtual or digital, there can never be enough safety measures and precautions.
Here is what you can do to keep yourself safe in the virtual universe and prevent it from harming your physical presence.
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The metaverse is what you make of it. For some, it’s a vast adventurous, brave new world with incredible opportunities for living a digital life. For others, it’s a sea of opportunities to get hold of private information — and they couldn’t be more right. Let’s dwell on the latter part a bit.
The metaverse will require a lot of personal data from you, especially if you are considering using AR and VR devices besides the regular IoT. What is extremely worrying about the metaverse is that it will collect more biometric data than any other digital creation.
For instance, you could end up handing over your fingerprints (if you use VR gloves), audio recordings, blood pressure (and other bodily functions registered by your wearable), and even retina scans (if you use VR headsets).
What can you do to protect your personal information? If possible, store the most sensitive data, such as fingerprints, in your private cloud. The public cloud can be used for less sensitive data.
As advanced as the metaverse tries to be, the general rules of protecting your personal information online still apply. In fact, they’re more important than ever should you wish to spend more time as your avatar.
Here are a few practical pieces of advice to remind ourselves about:
- Don’t refrain from getting the updated version of your antivirus software.
- Install your own VPN (a virtual private network) to encrypt the input and output information.
- Set up a firewall to avoid any potential external threats. The software will decide which data packets are safe to access your network and which should be blocked.
- Install a password manager such as 1Password or Zoho Vault. These will help you generate tough-to-break passwords and keep them safe without having to write them down or store them in a separate document. Such password managers can also help encrypt sensitive information like credit card details.
Metaverse concerts are a chance to spend the night singing and dancing to your favorite tunes and meet many people with the same passion. However, remember to limit yourself when giving out your personal information despite the friendly feeling and the enjoyable experience.
Sometimes a privacy intruder won’t need to hack into our private information — they can get almost everything they wish from the person willing to provide personal information. Remember, you don’t owe information about your personal or professional life to anyone, no matter how friendly they may be online.
41% of US citizens have experienced some form of online harassment, and most of it came from social media accounts. Unfortunately, the metaverse simply brims with opportunities for harassment, assaults, and cyberbullying, which is undoubtedly going to increase the figure. The company is still working on identifying and preventing suspicious behavior and language.
Until the metaverse is perfectly safe, you should remember that the rules of everyday life are applied to virtual reality. For instance, no one can establish physical contact with you without your consent, even if it’s just a pat on the shoulder in a digital bar.
Metaverse reality is virtual, but the value you place in it is real and closely tied to your monetary funds, too. In the metaverse, you’ll use your MetaMask digital wallet to pay for NFTs or anything else you might need.
Hence, you must protect your Hot Wallet, so here are a few tips:
- Only keep small amounts available.
- Use the latest up-to-date software version.
- Avoid clicking on spam ads and advertisements (they may be insecure).
- Keep your password safe and change it regularly.
Admittedly, the metaverse is progressing much faster than the laws around the world. Some of the most expected cybercrimes in the metaverse include child exploitation, solicitation, money laundering, data leaks, etc.
As these are serious criminal offenses, countries are working on adapting the existing laws or creating new ones regarding digital crime. However, different countries have different priorities, so you’d better do regular research on law updates.
For instance, Japan is going to create a Web 3.0 Policy Office under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). In the States, the main focus was limiting Meta to (illegally) acquire Within Unlimited, i.e., its Supernatural fitness app. One of the main points was that in that way, Meta would violate the antitrust laws and lessen the competition.
Truth be told, keeping track of everything that happens with the metaverse regarding laws and regulations is not an easy task. Yet, the only way to stay informed about your rights to legal action is to keep following the updates.
Initiating the research yourself is a good idea, as you probably won’t get enough incentives from Meta.
As the different parts of our physical experiences are about to enter the highly immersive meta-universe, the safety alarms are being set off. While we wait for the metaverse creators to increase the safety precautions and measures, and for countries to implement laws protecting our private data, the least we can do is follow some of the metaverse safety tips above.