Virtual Metaverse: Real Vulnerability
(Photo : 3D_Sparrow via Canva)

Last October, Mark Zuckerberg announced the surprising yet exciting news that he has decided to change the company name Facebook to Meta Platforms Inc, which will be branded as Metaverse and its more concise version Meta.

Even before noticing the headlines, many may have noticed the logo and name change on their Facebook app and other messaging platforms owned by Facebook, such as WhatsApp.

Mark Zuckerberg further demonstrated an amplification of this major decision's resolute and unwavering nature by announcing that as of December 1st, 2021, Facebook's current stock ticker, FB, trading on the NASDAQ, will also change its ticker to MVRS.

In reality, because virtual reality is a massive part of Facebook's operation and their business has pivoted way beyond a "social media" business, this decision was fairly overdue. The Metaverse includes 3D, AR or Augmented Reality and VR or Virtual Reality coupled with other AI Artificial Intelligence and ML Machine Learning, sensors and other ground shaking technologies.

The Metaverse is set to dominate as a critical ingredient in Web 3.0 or the Cyberspace evolution.

Let's further delve into this fascinating topic and discuss why you should not allow the excitement and innovation of this web evolution to remove virus protection and anti-malware applications, or any Cybersecurity matter from your general awareness and prioritization.

We will also delve into why this evolution will slip into another evolution for some aspects of Cybersecurity and Cyberprivacy, while presenting a new set of cyberthreats.

The Metaverse in a Nutshell 

In a nutshell, the Metaverse brings the Cyberspace journey more to life, evolving and enhancing the web and how we experience and interact through it. The Metaverse is likely to steer a titanic shift in most, if not all, industries, social services, police forces and even fire departments, including many aspects of daily life.

This interchangeability is expected to strengthen beyond what most can imagine. The Metaverse presents lofty intellectual challenges and exciting opportunities for futurists and SCI-FI authors.

The Metaverse in Practice

In more practical terms, the Metaverse will extend and greatly enhance how we interact over the web, making virtual digital interactions ironically feel more and more REAL, with users creating their own digital avatars allowing emotionality to be vivid and clear in unprecedented ways.

Messaging Apps

Messenger app interactions will be enhanced by default with AR, VR, 3D and much more. Online text chats are often lost in translation because of inaccurate or misused emojis, and simply put, this is not good enough.

Emotion-lacking text in online interactions has been a gap which is yet to be completely filled.

With WhatsApp being synonymous with daily life and a significant member of the Meta formerly Facebook product portfolio family, it will be interesting to see how WhatsApp will work as a Metaverse enabled product.

Messaging Apps: Group Chat

With group chats in widely used platforms such as WhatsApp and FB Messenger, understanding individual and group emotional dynamics is of ever-growing importance for users.

Virtual Digital Mirroring of Body Language

Digital custom-made avatars on the Metaverse express body language by reading signals sent from users' wearable technology. Wearable technology is comprised of sensors that are explicitly developed for virtual digital mirroring of body language.

These sensors are undergoing constant R&D for improved output and a more comfortable wearing experience.

Again, it will be extremely interesting to see how WhatsApp and FB Messenger, which dominate global messaging traffic, will integrate into the Metaverse.

Remote Workforce Phenomenon

The current pandemic accelerated remote workforce revolution and evolution is moving at a handsome pace and evolving lives, technologies and families. This is all taking place with the unwavering support, contribution and fuel of countless large iconic companies moving toward a predominately remote workforce. An example of these companies is; Verizon, SAP, Apple, Amazon, Adobe, Google, Salesforce, Capital One, Coinbase, Facebook, Dropbox, Siemens, Shopify, and this roster is proliferating.

Remote work collaboration tools urgently need a plethora of innovation for the remote workforce to not only simply "work" but also allow these companies to maintain and even augment their stature. 

The Virtual Boardroom

Many remote workers have probably been negatively impacted by not having the same board room experience. Emotional context and clear communication are of paramount importance. Zoom fatigue is reported across the board over the pandemic, new experience refreshing tools are needed, and the Metaverse fits the bill indeed.

With avatars, meeting participants can better gauge emotional context, such as the general enthusiasm or interest over an idea presented and much more.

Leading CEOs such as Mark Zuckerberg are well aware of this need, and it is indeed part of their near and long-term mission.

The Hidden Vulnerability

With all the excitement of bringing the internet to life, messaging, and remote work collaboration tools potentially going to the next level, it is very easy to forget the behemoth running the show; Cyberspace with its respective cybersecurity and cyberprivacy risks.

With more layers of technology added around Metaverse experiences such as in gaming, remote workforce collaboration platforms, virtual communities, shopping and much more, so will potential cyber security vulnerabilities.

With people trusting their work peer avatars, friends and family members' avatars, a hacker can gain the trust of many by simply hacking an avatar they trust. This can open doors for digital social engineering and elaborate cyberattacks. 

Cybersecurity firms should be researching this area very closely and try to see where it will be 1, 5 or even ten years from now. These firms should work closely with leading players in the space, such as Meta Platforms Inc. and more.

Cyber citizens using these technologies should be aware of the inherent risks of adopting newer technologies, as history has taught us the security vulnerabilities they can produce.

May all readers of this article engage in a cyber secure Metaverse journey.

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