Interpol says metaverse opens up new world of cybercrime

  • The Metaverse Could Activate Existing Crimes, Take Them To A New Level
  • Child safety is also a concern, according to Interpol’s Oberoi
  • Virtual reality could facilitate crimes like terrorist attacks

LONDON, Oct 27 (Reuters) – (This October 27 article has been reclassified to remove superfluous letter from title)

Global law enforcement agency Interpol said it was preparing for the risk that immersive online environments – the “metaverse” – could create new types of cybercrime and allow existing crime to happen on a larger scale.

Interpol member countries have raised concerns about how to prepare for a possible metaverse crime, Madan Oberoi, Interpol’s executive director for technology and innovation, told Reuters.

“Some of the crimes may be new to this medium, some of the existing crimes will be activated by the medium and taken to a new level,” he said.

Phishing and scams might work differently when augmented reality and virtual reality are involved, Oberoi said. Child safety issues were also a concern, he said.

Virtual reality could also facilitate crime in the physical world, Oberoi said.

“If a terrorist group wants to attack a physical space, they can use that space to plan, simulate and launch their exercises before attacking,” he said.

Earlier this month, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, Europol, said in a report that terrorist groups could, in the future, use virtual worlds for propaganda purposes, recruitment and training. Users can also create virtual worlds with “extremist rules”, the report says.

If metaverse environments record user interactions on the blockchain, “this could make it possible to track everything someone does based on an interaction with them – providing valuable information to stalkers or extortionists,” Europol said. .

The metaverse has become a tech buzzword in 2021, with companies and investors betting that virtual world environments will gain popularity and mark a new stage in the development of the internet. Facebook announced it was changing its name to Meta in October 2021 to mark its shift to this idea.

But so far, that vision shows few signs of materializing. The value of Meta shares plunged on Thursday as investors expressed skepticism about betting spending on the Metaverse. Sales of blockchain-based assets representing virtual land and other digital possessions have also fallen sharply after a period of frenzied growth last year.

Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft and Dina Kartit, Editing by Bernadette Baum

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Elizabeth Howcroft

Thomson Reuters

Reports on the intersection of finance and technology, including cryptocurrencies, NFTs, virtual worlds and money that generates “Web3”.

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