New Trend Micro report reveals the ‘darkverse’ and its threat to MEA businesses

Trend Micro Incorporated (TYO:4704; TSE:4704), a global leader in cybersecurity solutions, today released a new report titled Metaverse or Metaworse? Cybersecurity threats to the Internet of Experiences, warning of a “dark universe” of crime hidden from law enforcement, which could rapidly evolve to fuel a new cybercrime industry tied to the metaverse.

According to Trend Micro, the “darkverse” will look like a metaverse version of the dark web, allowing threat actors to coordinate and carry out illegal activities with impunity. The underground markets operating in the “darkverse” would be impossible for the police to infiltrate without the correct authentication tokens. Since users can only access a “darkverse” world if they are inside a designated physical location, there is an added level of protection for closed criminal communities. This could provide a haven for multiple threats to flourish, from financial fraud and e-commerce scams to NFT theft, ransomware, and more.

According to the report, cybercriminals may seek to compromise “digital twin” spaces managed by critical infrastructure operators, to sabotage or extort industrial systems. Although a full-fledged metaverse is still a few years away, metaverse-like spaces will be commonplace much sooner. Trend Micro’s report seeks to start an urgent dialogue about what cyber threats to expect and how they could be mitigated.

“We have seen an accelerated stage in the evolution of technology, with the metaverse providing a new dynamic to the way we see the world,” said Dr. Moataz Bin Ali, Regional Vice President and General Manager, MEA for Trend Micro. “While there has been a healthy progression, we are still in the early stages of integrating Metaverse experiences into our daily lives. The unpredictability of the modern digital age has prompted us to take a proactive and prepare us for malicious actors looking to exploit vulnerabilities in the metaverse.Trend Micro will continue to explore, innovate, and create solutions that resiliently protect the region’s digital journey from modern threats as cybersecurity becomes a top priority for organizations.

The top five metaverse threats described in the report are:

  • NFTs will be affected by phishing, ransomware, fraud, and other attacks, which will be increasingly targeted as they become an important metaverse product to regulate ownership.

  • The dark verse will become the go-to place to conduct illegal/criminal activities as it will be difficult to track down, monitor and infiltrate law enforcement.

  • money laundering the use of metaverse real estate and overpriced NFTs will provide a new outlet for criminals to clean up the money.

  • Social engineering, propaganda, and fake news will have a profound impact in a cyber-physical world. Influential narratives will be employed by criminals and state actors targeting vulnerable groups sensitive to certain topics.

  • Privacy will be redefined, as metaverse-like spatial operators will have unprecedented visibility into user actions – essentially when using their worlds in the metaverse.

Bonny J. Streater