In 1995, a computer virus or a cyber attack meant that you had to maybe spend a few bucks taking your desktop to a professional to get it fixed. Now we do everything on our computers and devices, so a serious cyber attack could mean being out of work, losing a lot of money, or having our identity stolen. With virtual reality “VR” and augmented reality, we’re taking an even greater risk, putting our very perception of reality on the line.
Although we may simply want to opt out of augmented reality, there may come a time when that’s easier said than done. Twenty years ago you might have said that you weren’t interested in using the internet, but here we are. Even if you don’t actively surf the web, all of your transactions make it through the internet sooner or later. Maybe you’ll never get outfitted with a Google Glass headset, but it’s going to be simply a part of our lives sooner or later.
More likely than not, it will wind up being an integral part of how you do business, just as the internet became an integral part of doing business in the 00’s. As such, we need to start thinking about how we’re going to manage the cyber security risks associated with augmented reality and VR.
The use of augmented reality or VR in conjunction with wearable devices has the potential to even allow hackers and malware to create bodily harm, say some experts. We’ve already seen that, in theory, smart pacemakers can suffer a cyber attack. Augmented reality means that hackers could do something as simple as triggering an epileptic seizure in their targets, or use wearable items like the Google Glass as surveillance devices.
Even assuming that you never strap a wearable device onto your body for the rest of your life, simply offering free Wifi to your customers could open you up to liability should a wearable device be hacked on your watch.
The way that we fight hackers on the new frontier of wearable devices, augmented reality and VR won’t likely be much different than the way that we fight them right now. The challenge lies in the fact that cyber security tends to be, by its very nature, reactive. Hackers tend to be a step ahead of security providers because we won’t know what the vulnerabilities are until they’re capitalized upon. Fortunately, we’re seeing more and more proactive efforts to keep up with vulnerabilities affecting new technologies.