yber crime continues to be a huge issue and it has only been made worse by the pandemic. Ransomware payments have increased by 43% and in March there were 20 million breached records and an average of 30,000 websites hacked daily. It’s reached a point where the World Economic Forum has proclaimed that cybersecurity is becoming too big a job for governments or businesses to handle alone. This uptick in cybercrime has caused a surge in the demand for cybersecurity professionals, but the gap is far from being filled. Thankfully universities are continuing to develop new ways for the next generation of cybersecurity experts to be taught. Today, many cybersecurity students are getting their degrees through online courses, which are just as valid as traditional degrees. Online cybersecurity degrees teach theoretical knowledge and provide hands-on training through Virtual Labs to educate the next generation of cybersecurity experts. Programs are being updated to industry standard and to keep up with emerging trends like augmented reality (AR), making the labor force more diverse and prepared to combat digital attacks.
As AR increasingly permeates the mainstream as one of the most viable frontier technologies, we tackle its biggest cybersecurity challenges and the most notable solutions.
Problem # 1: Malicious Data Collecting Using AR’s Inherent Data Gathering
Because AR is highly reliant on getting real-time information from users, their surroundings, and their interactions within the system, it can be a very revealing data breach should there be any malicious entities. A breach in the system and whoever has illegal access will be able to monitor users, the AR client, and even expose any gathered data at their own will. Consider how the US Army is now using HoloLens-based AR headsets for training. This real world training is beneficial, but could potentially be tapped into by terrorist groups to learn sensitive data with locations, operations, and identities from military personnel in the program.
Consistent system sweeps will be necessary to ensure there are no outside parties or malicious code that have seeped into the network. It’s also important to train users on digital security, since a misinformed link click or bad password could be the simplest way to suddenly open up the device and its network to a breach. Even though AR is still in its relative infancy, a stronger system and better preventative knowledge can be the key to preventing unauthorized access.
Problem # 2 – DDoS Attacks on Vulnerable Spots of AR Systems
DDoS attacks increased by 20% in 2020, marking an unprecedented number of attacks that exceeded the previously unsurpassed 10-million mark. Most industries suffering the attacks were e-commerce, streaming services, healthcare, and eLearning. These are the primary industries adopting AR making them increasingly vulnerable to attacks.
Because AR is still a burgeoning technology in the mainstream, there are still numerous regulations and additional measures being tinkered with today. Hackers can exploit these weaker spots by flooding traffic with malicious activity. Increasing your bandwidth (and being familiar with your own traffic) can prove trickier for a DDos attack to overcome and any irregular spikes can be easily spotted against your baseline. A combination of automated and human intervention can identify patterns, evolve safety tactics, restrict access to critical applications, and protect DNS servers. Human team members must regularly update and review all systems to ensure good hygiene that hackers cannot hide in. Meanwhile, DDos protection appliances like Cisco, Fortinet, and Radware can reinforce network firewalls to block signature attacks.
Problem # 3: Identity Theft and Impersonation in AR Spaces
In itself, impersonation can already be a problem. Identity theft is a major concern that can come into play when hackers use AR usage to determine a user’s log-in credentials, habits, and general surroundings to form a credible picture. The implications from identity theft go from financial information to stalking. Aside from that, this can also lead to catfishing. Catfishing is already prevalent enough on the internet, but AR potentially enables these users to use actual identities to trick their victims into possibly dangerous situations.
Cybersecurity measures that need to be taken here are in the realm of authentication systems. More so than a simple password and verification, a better system needs to be deployed that ensures whoever has access to the AR system is actually who they say they are. Examples of these effective methods that exist include encryption and two-factor authentication.
That said, digital experts are noting the potential of using two-factor authentication with blockchain to create immutability. The decentralized technology of blockchain ensures that sensitive information isn’t modifiable or even left on a single database. Combining this with the added layer of authentication builds trust that whoever logs on is really the intended user.
If cybersecurity can simultaneously incorporate these solutions with their more exciting features, AR’s continued rollout in the mainstream should be more sustainable, secure and smooth. Even though malicious attacks won’t likely see an end soon, these methods will at least lessen vulnerability and dissuade any more wannabe hackers from compromising a promising new technology.