Why cybercriminals are eyeing 5G and metaverse as their next big target

Cyber threats are on the constant rise. With the emergence of any innovative technology or economic turbulence, these cyberattacks are further amplified. The novel pandemic and the shift to the remote and hybrid workforce are clear examples.

Influencing social engineering techniques or exploiting vulnerabilities, cyber attackers always find ways to steal confidential information, cause financial harm, or ruin the reputation of organizations.

As the world increasingly embraces Metaverse and 5G, tackling cybercrimes born out of these technologies will become table stakes for IT professionals.

Can 5G and Metaverse be cyber criminals’ emerging playgrounds?

The emergence of 5G promises higher data speed, low latency, higher capacity, and more bandwidth. Infact, 5G connections are expected to be 100 times fastest than 4G.

However, as organizations shift to 5G networks, there will be a fundamental shift in network infrastructures which, if not tackled in time, can be vulnerable to threat actors.

Furthermore, for industries with sensitive data, such as manufacturing or healthcare, upgrading from legacy devices will be essential to avoid attacks.

Another aspect of growth in 5G is the proliferation of endpoints and attack surfaces. 5G will accelerate the use of IoT devices and increase interconnectedness. This will lead to more data, and more touchpoints will need to be addressed for security.

Metaverse, on the other hand, has been a buzzword for some time now. The metaverse market is expected to have a CAGR of 41.7% from 22021 – 2030.

As the world opens up to the new opportunities the Metaverse has to offer, businesses need to stay more cautious than ever.

While Metaverse does not have its definition written in stone, it can be defined as a virtual reality or environment where people connect, shop, and interact with one another. As a result, it will revolutionize how businesses operate, transactions take place, and how we live and work.

But as the lines between the virtual and real world get blurred, businesses will have the onus of ensuring security infrastructures are in place to secure their confidential data.

The primary reason for the influx of Metaverse—decentralization—can also be the main reason for attacks and cyber threats. Since decentralization makes the platform free of speculation and legalizations and accessible to all, the question of identity will take prominence.

NFT crimes are one of the many instances that have emerged from the existence of Metaverse so far.

Another aspect of Metaverse includes using smart glasses, headsets, and other VR gear, which could be a surface for cybercriminals. Additionally, threat actors can also use the person’s identity and location, which could lead to further repercussions.

Finally, the proliferation of data from the above two technologies and a lack of security infrastructure will quickly become a breeding ground for cyber criminals if businesses don’t have their guards up.

Is there a way to safeguard organizations?

The emerging technologies require businesses to shift from physical or hardware-based solutions to cloud-based ones, making cyber-attacks inevitable.

As a result, companies must stay cautious, raise awareness in their organizations, and have next-gen security solutions to tackle these security challenges effectively.

Furthermore, businesses can employ zero-trust, use AI and ML for threat detection, and enforce encryption to protect data and authorize users.

In conclusion, Metaverse and 5G are still in their nascent stages, which mean there could be more threats and increased sophistication. This makes it more critical than ever for businesses to stay resilient to protect their enterprise.

The article has been written by Shibu Paul, Vice President – International Sales at Array Networks

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