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Cybercriminals Are Targeting Metaverse Investors With Phishing Scams

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Investors across the country recently reported to CNBC that hackers stole their land in the metaverse by tricking them into clicking on links that they believed were genuine portals to the virtual universe. But in actuality, they turned out to be phishing sites designed to steal user credentials. Unfortunately, phishing is a fraudulent practice that has been at the forefront of concern for many businesses. Phishing attack examples like the metaverse, are a new type of medium that has the capability to be infiltrated and inundated with unethical hackers that are in it to obtain personal and sensitive information from various users. 

We have discussed the nuisance that is phishing attacks in one of our previous blog posts, but this is a topic that continually warrants the attention of both businesses and individuals alike. In doing so, it makes our IT consultants In Seattle WA  hopeful that you will employ the right preventative measures for stopping these attacks from occurring altogether. For today’s blog post, let’s discuss what this breaking story should teach us about phishing, and how our team at RHYNO Networks can guide on how to spot these attacks, so that you can protect yourself at all times. 

Defining The Metaverse

The metaverse is not one single place. From virtual reality headsets to digital worlds that give users the freedom to explore it as an avatar, the term “metaverse” denotes a series of virtual reality platforms that immerse users in an interactive online experience. With cryptocurrency, users have the ability to buy and develop virtual land or attend fashion shows and concerts, all within the confines of their computer screens. In case you were wondering, this concept is not brand new, by any means. For many centuries now, authors and investors have fantasized about a novel, interactive 3D reality. 

The term “metaverse” was first dubbed by author Neil Stephenson in his 1982 science fiction novel “Snow Crash”. This story details the metaverse as a virtual reality that was used as a way of escaping from a totalitarian world. In the decades that followed, interactive online video games like Minecraft, Roblox, and Fortnite have laid out the foundation for blockchain-based games that have taken the internet by storm.

Purchasing Virtual Property

Even though some companies have adopted virtual reality technology with which users can enter into a metaverse with a headset, the platforms where users buy and sell virtual property can only be handled via a computer. Three of the most popular platforms for buying Metaverse property are The Sandbox, Decentraland, and Superworld. Despite the fact that these 3 platforms have existed for years, the selling of blockchain-based plots of land has only been going on for the last year or so. Users in the Metaverse make bids on virtual plots of land through NFT marketplaces like OpenSea, in a process that’s very similar to buying real estate in the real world. In order to purchase land in the metaverse, users typically need a crypto wallet. Once an investor starts buying virtual land, the property is then transferred to their digital wallet, which then encodes the purchase on the blockchain. Think of this as the equivalent of a deed of purchase. The owner can develop anything from a residential home to a decked-out concert venue on the property. Since a myriad of these virtual worlds only have a limited number of land plots, investors said they believe that as the platforms rise in popularity, so too will the value of their properties. 

Phishing Attack Examples and Scams

Let our IT consultants in Seattle provide you with a refresher on phishing. Phishing is a type of social engineering where an attacker sends a fraudulent message designed to trick someone into revealing sensitive information to the attacker, or to deploy malicious software on the person’s infrastructure, much like ransomware. Normally, phishing attacks occur via email, and it’s something that affects all businesses, every so often. We will go into more detail later about how to prepare yourself for phishing scams. As it relates to the metaverse, since it is so new, law enforcement officials are not keeping track of how much investors have lost to scams. However, according to Chainalysis, a blockchain data platform, phishing scams are on the rise. For instance, Decentraland was the victim of a phishing attack that targeted MailChimp, and as a result, had hundreds of email accounts leaked to the hacker. The data platform also says that cybercriminals posted fake minting sites on Twitter, which resulted in a loss of Sandbox tokens.

Response To Metaverse Hacks & How To Typically Deal With Phishing Attack Examples

As the Metaverse has exploded in popularity, it’s made it increasingly difficult for platforms to field phishing attacks and hacking complaints, with many saying that once an asset is stolen, it cannot be retrieved due to the decentralized nature of the blockchain. Companies are working towards providing victims with better services for recovering their funds. But like with most processes, this will surely take some time to prepare.

Our IT consultants in Seattle WA are confident that the leaders in the Metaverse will eventually get this right. Until then, let’s discuss what we already know about dealing with phishing attacks from the personal experiences of businesses. Perhaps the metaverse can tailor their future solutions to match what is already in place!

Recognize Phishing Attack Examples

Scammers use emails or text messages to trick you into giving them your personal information. They may try to obtain passwords, account numbers, or social security numbers. If they are able to access this information, they can also get into your email, bank accounts, or any other accounts you have. Scammers launch thousands of phishing attacks every day, and unfortunately, they are often successful. Here are some signs that will help you recognize a phishing email or text message.

They may:

  • Use phishing emails to tell a story, tricking you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment
  • Say they have noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts
  • Claim there’s an issue with your account or your payment information
  • Insist that you must confirm some personal information
  • Attach a fake invoice
  • Insist that you click on a link to make a payment
  • Tell you that you’re eligible to register for a government refund
  • Offer a coupon for free items

Protecting Yourself From Phishing Attacks

Here are four steps that our IT consultants in Seattle WA believe are vital, for protecting yourself from the onslaught of phishing attacks:

  • Protect your computer by using security software. Set the software to update automatically so it can deal and manage new security threats.
  • Protect your cell phone by setting software to update automatically. These updates could give you critical protection against security threats.
  • Protect your accounts with multi-factor authentication. Some accounts will offer extra security by requiring two or more credentials to sign into your account. This is known as multi-factor authentication. The additional credentials you need to log in will usually fall into two categories. Something you have, like a passcode you get through an authentication app or a security key. Or, something you are. Like a scan of a fingerprint, your retina, or face. When this is set up, it makes it harder for scammers to infiltrate your accounts.
  • Protect your data through routine backups. Back up your data and make sure these backups are not connected to your home network. You can copy your computer files to an external hard drive or cloud storage. Be sure to back up the data on your phone too.

 If you get an email or text message that asks you to click on a link or open an attachment, answer this: Do I even have an account with the company or know the person who reached out to me? If the answer is no, it could be a phishing scam. If the answer is yes, contact the company just to be sure that it’s real.

Addressing Phishing Scams On All Platforms And Systems: Professional IT Consultants In Seattle WA

We are optimistic that the metaverse will eventually have the infrastructure to deal with phishing attacks. If your business is in need of advice for dealing with phishing attacks or you want to learn about more phishing attack examples or you need assistance with picking up the pieces after an unforeseen attack, our IT consultants in Seattle WA will lend a helping hand. Contact us today to discuss services and next steps, more in-depth. 

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