Phishing in the Metaverse: The New Reality of Brand Protection

BOLSTER has also paired this article with a FREE resource, 'Best Practices for Modern Brand Protection.'

The metaverse promises a new level of immersion and connection for users. Applications and platforms that use virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality technologies provide new ways for users to explore and interact with the world around them.

However, with this new level of engagement comes a new set of risks for brands. The cybersecurity landscape is constantly evolving, and bad actors are always finding new ways to take advantage of their opportunities, particularly with phishing attacks motivated by financial gain.

As more money is poured into the development of the metaverse, it’s essential to be aware of the risks and take steps to protect your brand. Metaverse platforms that fail to take security seriously could quickly become hotbeds for phishing scams and other malicious activity.

One of the significant security concerns with the metaverse is that users can create convincing 3D representations of real-world brands and products. This could lead to scams in which users are tricked into giving away personal information or sending money to fake brands.

Phishing in the Metaverse

One of the most significant risks in the metaverse is phishing. Phishing is a type of online fraud that involves scammers impersonating a brand or business to fool users (customers, employees, partners, etc) into giving up sensitive information. Today’s phishing scams are more sophisticated and convincing than ever before. Just recently Bolster announced a detected brand impersonation campaign using phishing and typosquat domains to target customers of over 100+ popular clothing and apparel brands.

Cybercriminals have been able to imitate authentic brands in the metaverse as well, including top metaverse platforms such as Decentraland and Sandbox.

Many investors and individuals have lost thousands of dollars with the intent of purchasing property on metaverse platforms, only to discover that they had clicked on a fraudulent site that was posing as a trusted site. Furthermore, the metaverse gives scammers and spammers opportunities to use every trick in their bag.

A phishing scam was uncovered on Decentraland, a popular Ethereum-based virtual world. The scammers set up fake websites that looked like the Decentraland website. These websites then tricked users into inputting their private keys, which would allow the scammers to steal their cryptocurrency.

These scammers combine phishing with look-alike domains, brand impersonation, fake apps and more to appear legitimate. With fewer regulations and less familiarity, customers and brands are more likely to fall prey to phishing scams in the virtual world we are building.

Metaverse phishing scams will only become more common as the metaverse continues to grow. Brands need to be aware of the risks and take steps to protect themselves.

What Makes the Metaverse a Prime Target for Phishing Scams?

Why are cyber criminals now turning to their attention to the metaverse? One reason is that the metaverse offers a new level of connection that other digital channels don’t. This makes it an attractive target for cybercriminals. Cybercriminals have accumulated significant valuable data from users on other channels, and they can now use that data to create more convincing phishing scams in the metaverse.

Millions of people are already using metaverse platforms, and that number will only grow. In addition, many brands are still trying to figure out how to best use the metaverse to further their own business. This presents a large pool of potential victims for phishers. As more businesses move into the metaverse, there will be even more opportunities for scammers to target brands, especially those active on social media but who might not be as familiar with the risks of the rising technology.

The metaverse also presents new challenges for security solutions because the anti-phishing solutions that worked in the past won’t necessarily be effective in the metaverse.

How Cybercriminals Exploit Users on Digital Platforms

With the rebranding of Facebook to Meta, more and more people are aware of the metaverse. However, most are not aware that the metaverse has been around for decades, meaning hackers have had a longer opportunity than we think to learn the ins and outs of the platform.

Companies like Bolster are consistently developing new and innovative ways to use the products and services we provide to expand brand security to new social media platforms and other digital interfaces where businesses could be the target of attacks. Although the cybercriminals are attacking new platforms, their methods have similarities to what we are used to.

Impersonating brands isn’t the only way that cybercriminals exploit users. When cybercriminals post about a brand, a product, or a service on social platforms, their audience will see it, and some may click on links or download files. In some cases, cybercriminals will use the links to spread malware and engage in other malicious activities like collecting payments and personal information.

Cybercriminals can also use the metaverse and social media platforms to spread fake news. In some cases, cybercriminals will create fake accounts and use them to post false or misleading information about a brand. Attackers also can create fictitious accounts mimicking a business’s executives, using executive impersonation phishing scams to target employees, prospective employees, and customers. This can damage the reputation of the brand and lead to financial losses.

Cybercriminals sometimes operate as part of a group, and often use automated tools to help them with their criminal activities. This makes it difficult for social media platforms to identify and remove all malicious content. This is why Bolster’s industry leading automated brand protection services are so valuable.

Phishing scams, if not addressed, could have a major impact on brands. In addition to the reputational damage caused by phishing scams, they can also lead to financial losses. To protect themselves from phishing scams, companies need to take action.

Companies should begin by training employees to spot phishing attempts. Companies should also put procedures in place to quickly identify and shut down phishing websites.

How Can I Protect My Company From Phishing Attacks in the Metaverse?

While we may have an early idea of the security risks associated with the metaverse, the full extent of threats are still unknown. Companies must take precautions to protect themselves and customers from potential threats.

Your company can assess the risks that phishing scams pose to your operations and implement appropriate security measures. These measures should be designed to protect both employees and customers.

There are a few key things your company can do to protect itself from phishing scams, such as:

  • Educate employees and customers about the risks of phishing.
  • Implement security measures to protect employees and customers from phishing scams.
  • Use social media protection solutions to identify and block phishing content.
  • Constantly update security measures and social media protection solutions to keep up with the latest scams.
  • Report any phishing attempts to the relevant authorities.
Arm your business against phishing scams by enacting these best practices

These solutions need to be constantly updated to keep up with the latest scams. Phishing is a serious threat to companies of all sizes. Companies can protect themselves from this growing threat by taking the necessary precautions.

Bolster Can Help You Protect Your Digital Brand

Brands that use social media platforms like Reddit, Facebook, Instagram, etc., rely on our Bolster platform to detect threats before they can cause harm. With Bolster’s continuous monitoring technology, customers can trust social media phishing threats will be detected, even if their internal teams aren’t actively putting resources towards these threats.

Are you ready to learn how Bolster develops new solutions to stay up-to-date digital trends so we can protect brands and customers from threats on the internet? Simply fill out our Request a Demo form for a 30-minute run-through of our capabilities.