In the modern world, you cannot talk about technology and fail to mention Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. Despite being around from the early 1990s, these terms are increasingly popular. These innovations are used in various industries and were recently valued at $18 billion. It is projected that their value will hit a whopping $814.7 billion by the end of 2025.
The rapid advancement of these technologies presents the world with a myriad of opportunities. However, this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t come with its fair share of challenges.
There are many security and privacy risks that ride along with AR and VR.
Experts believe that eye tracking is one of the greatest human innovations because it will help developers get a clear picture of users’ experiences and develop custom applications to appeal to the right emotions.
In addition, eye tracking also helps boost the security of AR and VR because eye scanning can be a biometric identifier that allows users to log in to their systems.
But this technology is not a bed of roses, as you may be tempted to believe. Look – companies can use eye tracking to monitor your online activities for marketing purposes, and this can go a long way in compromising your privacy.
Research shows that 95% of consumers are often subconscious when making purchase decisions. By using eye-tracking technologies, marketers can identify unconscious consumers and try to sell products to them.
Eye-tracking comes as a blessing to marketers, but it can also be a ‘curse’ to consumers. Their information might be shared without their consent, which can eventually lead to other risks, including identity theft and extra data breaches.
Advances in AR and VR technologies such as machine learning and facial recognition have led to the alteration of the appearances and voices of people. This is popularly referred to as deepfake technology.
Right now, identifying deepfake footage is easy. With time, however, tracking sensors in VR systems will lead to the development of fake identities that will be more convincing.
For instance, hackers could easily use motion tracking sensors to create movement and use it against you.
Sensors found in VR headsets will be improved and used to record facial movements to help create deepfakes that will appear real in the eyes of all and sundry.
From a tech perspective, the fact that one can create fake identities is cool and appealing. However, in terms of cybersecurity, this is not something to celebrate. Without the proper security measures, your identity could fall into the wrong hands, and this is the last thing you would wish for!
There are malicious actors who will try to take advantage of VR and decide to engage in extortion. They will get your browsing data and convince you that they have enough proof you have been visiting bad websites. They will then ask you to pay a particular amount of money so that they cannot leak your data for the world to see.
Even though some of these actors could fake emails so that they can extort money from unsuspecting people, things could get worse. Some cybercriminals can install spyware in your system and monitor your browsing habits. They will then get a glimpse of the type of content you search for on the web and use it to extort money from you.
How can privacy issues in AR and VR be addressed?
Just like how you learned how to find a router IP address to protect your device, you need to know how to address privacy issues in AR and VR. Some of the best practices include:
Review privacy policies – privacy policies are lengthy, and you rarely go through them. However, read them word by word to understand how the platforms you join store and use your data.
Never disclose information that is too personal – when using AR and VR, only disclose necessary information. For example, you can share general information such as your name and contact information, but never disclose things like payment information if you are not buying anything.
Get a VPN service – One of the safest ways to access services offered by AR and VR is to use a good VPN service. A VPN will not only encrypt your data but will also enable you to hide your IP address. This way, you will navigate the web in anonymity, hence making it nearly impossible for hackers and companies to monitor your browsing habits.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are revolutionary technologies. Despite presenting us with a wide range of opportunities, they also have their fair share of risks.
Before using them, ensure you understand the potential threats they pose to your privacy and use the tricks outlined in this article to prevent them.