Tech Giants Are Forming Metaverse Standards Body to Answer Cybersecurity Threats

Image of the meta and facebook logos on a gray background.
Meta, formerly Facebook, is the driving force behind the Metaverse project.

Over the past few years, Meta’s Metaverse project has been in the works. The tech giant formerly known as Facebook has been working diligently for the past few years to finish this project. However, this development has not been without challenges. The new virtual reality ecosystem is creating more issues than solutions.

To resolve these issues, Meta, Microsoft, and a couple other large tech names have founded the new Metaverse Standards Forum. These companies plan to create joint standards that will apply to hardware, software, and community management for future technology.

At the moment, the forum has 3 general goals, with more to be announced as talks progress:

  1. Increased cybersecurity and anti-bullying protection
  2. Standardized hardware norms and nomenclature
  3. Standardized attachments and peripherals

Noticeably, some companies have been absent from the list of participants. Most notable of the absentees is Apple, which is still to join the race for virtual reality users. We can also mention gaming companies like Roblox and Niantic, the developer of Pokémon Go, both with popular products in the industry.

Companies like Google, AMD, and Apple have the capacity and technology to match the Forum’s founding members. As a result, we may wonder if they may create a major competitor to face the Metaverse Forum. 

Big Plans for the Metaverse

The existence of virtual reality environments is not new. However, the current idea promoted by the CEO of Meta, Mark Zuckerberg, is innovative. Zuckerberg aims to push the entire social media environment to a virtual reality ecosystem, dubbed the Metaverse.

Users will be able to explore both their social and business connections in VR. Hardware and graphics are constantly improving. As a result, companies are racing to see who will create the best VR or augmented reality (AR) system.

Companies like Google have previously explored these options. Namely, Google Glass has caused many breakthroughs. However, this product eventually became a commercial flop.

Hopefully, the new Metaverse project will not share the same fate. Meta is trying to extend a hand to other companies to make the Metaverse more than a hypothesis.

When speaking about Facebook Horizon and the Metaverse project, Zuckerberg explained how he imagines a whole world of user-generated content in a seamless environment. Anyone can use an avatar and participate in social activities, shopping, and browsing.

But for now, this seems more like a description of ‘’Ready Player One’’ than anything currently available.

Image of a man using a VR set in public.
While VR technology is improving quickly, it still has a lot of issues.

The Metaverse Standards Forum

The Metaverse Standard Forum isn’t any kind of governing or executive body for the Metaverse. Rather, it will be a loose alliance that will build a consensus on various issues, solutions, and other relevant questions within the Metaverse.

The Forum will work inside the current governance models and IP legal framework. However, it will offer guidance and cooperation to its members. The Metaverse Forum will not force any business models. It will be completely voluntary.

Founders of the Forum, which includes companies like Nvidia, Huawei, and Adobe, plan to have a venue where they discuss issues with the Metaverse. Through this venue, they hope to find beneficial solutions for everyone. 

A single company currently cannot produce a commercially successful product. However, if several companies cooperate in advancements and goals, they may create a valid system. This is the overarching theory behind the Metaverse forum.

Additionally, the forum aims to solve questions such as identity management, privacy, financial transactions, and geospatial systems. These will all contribute to the new Metaverse being a living, breathing ecosystem that functions without constant moderation.

Some Cybersecurity Threats Remain Unanswered

The forum does answer some questions when it comes to identity and privacy issues. However, it is almost uniquely focused on how the companies will protect the users from their own interference. That said, many are wondering how the users will act toward each other.

Primarily, moderation will be a challenge. At the moment, it is virtually impossible to moderate the Metaverse. Moderation must be done in real-time and with perfect capture. Not to mention that hacks can make it impossible for the user to ask for assistance in the first place.

All peer-to-peer (P2P) hacks can wreak havoc on the entire system. Those who have already gained access to hardware interfaces have very few cures. Currently, VR and AR sets are quite demanding both in the hardware and in the software sector. This also makes the number of possible hacks and exploits much higher than for any other mobile device.

This lack of P2P accountability also leads to questionable data accuracy. If anyone can assume others’ identities, attackers will likely scam other people with identity theft.

Finally, we can think about problems with anonymous social interaction. Just like other anonymous platforms like Twitter and 4Chan, many will certainly use the Metaverse to harass and bully others.

Image of a person using a heavily modded VR set under green light.
Metaverse hackers might be a mixture of high school nerds and high school bullies all at once.

Worst of Both Worlds

VR is not yet mainstream. The potential of virtual reality environments in business and social situations, as well as entertainment, is immense. 

Regretfully, the decades-long dream is still in its infancy. Will the Metaverse format of today be available in the future? We cannot be sure; virtual reality may still change drastically.

At the moment, integrating products and services into virtual reality will bring out the worst in both worlds. Unless we stick to entertainment in virtual reality, we will see the worst parts of both the tech and real worlds. 

On one side, we will see hacks, scams, and limitations that are the bane of cyberspace. On the other side, we will also have the real world’s bullying and harassment, without a tool to remove those influences.

If the Metaverse Forum can resolve those issues, we will have a whole new world to explore. We will also see a new revolution in social media and business.

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