How is AR/VR changing cybersecurity for the better by Shigraf Aijaz

Not too long ago, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) experiences were mere concepts of the sci-fiction world. However, we now see these concepts coming to life, starting from the gaming sector and then slowly and rapidly taking over the business, healthcare, and the educational world. The rapid digitization within the world has seen a massive growth spurt in the use of AR/VR technology. 

To top it off, the recent hype on metaverse is another new branch of AR/VR technology that we have yet to explore. Similarly, the impact of AR/VR technology is another use of this technology that cybersecurity professionals are gingerly proceeding to explore. However, considering the potential these technologies contain and the remarkable ways they have helped other industries grow, there is no doubt that AR and VR technology will help cybersecurity flourish. 

How is AR/VR changing cybersecurity for the better?

Cyber security has become a significant concern for many, primarily due to the rising number of destructive cyberattacks. The situation remains alarming as the cyber threat landscape grows with fervor. Amidst this, the idea of integrating AR/VR technology within cybersecurity has previously come across much skepticism. 

However, judging the potential that AR/VR technology carries, there can be a seen a gradual shift in this perspective. There are several ways that AR/VR technology can help change cybersecurity for the better, such as:

1. Providing cybersecurity training to employees

A recent study highlight a lack of adequately trained cybersecurity professionals and staff as one of the primary reason for a data breach. Amidst this, organizations need robust training methods to spread awareness and educate their employees regarding cybersecurity, 

AR and VR technology can provide a solution to this issue through gamified learning and training platforms. These AR and VR-based training platforms are highly interactive, allowing employees to get a life-like experience. Individuals get first-hand experience on how to interact with cyber attacks such as ransomware attacks, malware invasion, of social engineering attacks. 

Therefore, it helps explore each individual’s needs for appropriate training and awareness. These training platforms remain relevant since they are regularly updated and are created through several tests and simulations. 

Since organizations are now multigenerational, the visualization aspects of these training platforms help impart highly technical knowledge to even the senior staff. It, therefore, significantly helps reduce the idea of “vulnerable humans” within an organization. Apart from that, the interactive nature helps build interest within individuals allowing them to remain engaged within their training and thus ensure a relevant training impact. 

2. Building a better cybersecurity infrastructure 

A secure cybersecurity infrastructure is the need of the hour for every organization. AR and VR technology can significantly help IT and security staff to create a secure and robust security infrastructure through visualization. 

The interactive nature of these technologies can allow security professionals to visualize a network system helping them highlight the delicate intricacies within it. These technologies can also help in threat assessment and vulnerability management of a network system. Security professionals can use the visualization to find relevant loopholes and vulnerabilities within the system and build a robust security plan to mitigate possible data breaches and cyber-attacks. 

Apart from that, AR/VR technology can also help organizations build a proactive incident response plan. By visualizing how the attack unfolded and compromised the organization’s security system and vulnerabilities, the security professional will better understand the endpoints they need to secure to prevent further attacks. 

3. Spreading mass awareness 

Cybersecurity is not only crucial for organizations. Every netizen must ensure cyber security. While people are now generally more aware and have adopted online security tools like VPNs, password managers, and antimalware software, there remains a lack of understanding among many regarding cybersecurity. 

This lack of awareness is one of the major concerns for cybersecurity professionals worldwide, as attacks like phishing often dupe people into falling victim to identity thefts and other similar attacks. However, AR/ VR attacks can be the ultimate solution to this issue. 

Professionals can use AR/VR technology to create interactive games and learning platforms where any individual can enroll and gain adequate awareness regarding cybersecurity. The interactive nature of these games and training platforms will allow even people with non-technical backgrounds to understand cyber threats and risks better, allowing them to practice cyber hygiene. 

Are there any possible risks involved?

AR/VR tools can positively impact cybersecurity, and there is a significant chance for this technology to exploit user privacy and security. 

Since AR/VR technology is interactive and is impactful due to the tailored training programs it creates, the devices or apps used while training collects a significant amount of data. Users surrounding sounds and movements and personal information such as body movements and personal preferences are often a part of this collected data. 

The presence of such a large amount of sensitive data present collectively remains at significant risk of hack attacks. A threat actor can steal this data to sell over the dark web or even use it for identity theft or social engineering attacks. 

Additionally, any company deploying these training measures would incidentally have access to each employee’s telemetry data to track their performance. While this is crucial for their training, it is also a violation of their privacy. 

What can be done of the risks involved?

Practicing cyber hygiene is crucial to exploit a technology fully. Similarly, when it comes to AR/VR technology, it is curial that the organization or the user alone deploy the use specific cybersecurity practice that could helo enable privacy and security such as:

  • The sensitive data stored within these apps and devices must be encrypted, preferably AES-256 bit encryption. 
  • The AR/VR apps and devices used should have relevant security configurations. 
  • Any organization deploying AR/VR devices should have a firm privacy policy of purging collected data after relevant times. 
  • It is crucial to ensure endpoint security to mitigate malware threats and data breach risks. 
  • AR/VR apps and devices should have strong password security, such as ensuring multi-factor authentication to prevent data breaches. 

Implementing such security measures can help ensure that the true potential of AR/VR technologies remains in use. While ensuring cyber hygiene, we can rely on AR/VR technology to make a beneficial impact on cybersecurity. 

Conclusion 

Despite the excitement and hype these technologies offer, the security concerns that come along with them are somewhat becoming a setback in its advancements. While admittedly, these cybersecurity risks and challenges are crucial and not something to overlook at all, however, we are yet to explore the true capabilities of these AR/VR technologies. 

Since every technology has come around with security loopholes for hackers to exploit, it is crucial that we don’t fixate on the darker turn of events. The potential of these AR/VR technologies is too critical to overlook, and they do offer innovativeness that can change cybersecurity for the better. 


About the Author

Shigraf Aijaz

Shigraf is an experienced cybersecurity journalist and is zealous about spreading knowledge regarding cyber and internet security. She has extensive knowledge in writing insightful topics regarding online privacy, DevOps, AI, cybersecurity, cloud security, and a lot more. Her work relies on vast and in-depth research.

 

 

 

 

February 8, 2022
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