Cybercriminals appear to have found a new soft target for phishing scams and fraud – the metaverse. According to victim accounts, they believed that their investments were secure and legit, primarily owing to the fact that the metaverse is integrated with blockchain tech. Unfortunately, after the investors bought what they thought were their metaverse lands, it didn’t take long for cybercriminals to maliciously steal it from them.
The hackers basically baited them into clicking on what’s known as “phishing pages” appearing as legitimate websites to the metaverse. Unbeknownst to the victims, they were duped into providing sensitive information and credentials to cybercriminals as soon as they clicked on the links.
All those investors wanted was a piece of the metaverse action – a dynamic new virtual world built on blockchain networks and platforms. The metaverse quickly rose to prominence thanks to the involvement of several A-list celebrities, artists, fashion brands, and high-rolling investors.
While this sounds charming, and the metaverse does come with a dearth of future possibilities and applications, it is not perfect.
What’s painfully apparent is that the metaverse isn’t safe from cybercriminals. The investors learned the security risks of virtual investing the hard way.
There’s no question that the popularity of investing in virtual real estate (buying land on the metaverse and then selling it for profit on different NFT and blockchain platforms) has compelled fraudsters and hackers to crawl out of the woodwork. According to authorities, cybercriminals launch phishing scams with an arsenal of high-tech software and malicious programs that are harder to identify.
Kasha Desrosiers, a skilled long-term care nurse, was one of the victims. Ms Desrosiers bought NFTs worth $16,000. It represented metaverse land in popular metaverse platforms such as The Sandbox and SuperWorld.
She explained that her dream was to build a game in the virtual universe based on human physiology and anatomy. Sadly, she can no longer do that now. After she bought the NFTs, Desrosiers clicked on a website named Decentraland and unknowingly clicked on a phishing link that redirected her to a phishing site where the bad actors emptied her MetaMask wallet.
Online fitness professional, Tracy Carlinksy, had a similar experience. She clicked on a phishing scam site that was nearly the same as The Sandbox’s homepage. Carlinksy lost $20,000.
Amid the Phishing Scams, High Rolling Investors Push On to Invest in the Metaverse
Because the metaverse is an entirely new entity, authorities are yet to keep comprehensive records of how much money small investors are losing because of cybercrime. But there’s no doubt that phishing scams in the metaverse are at an all-time high and will continue to grow. Although investors have potentially lost hundreds of thousands of dollars, corporate investors show no sign of slowing down – continuously injecting staggering amounts of money into the virtual stratosphere.
For example, you’d be surprised to know that the company behind The Sandbox, Animoca Brands, recently acquired more than $350 million in capital from various investors such as 10T Holdings and Liberty City Ventures. The Sandbox now stands at a valuation of over $5 billion!
Metaverse Platforms Jump into Action
According to the product lead of MetaMask, Taylor Monahan, the company will soon be launching a platform where phishing scam victims may be able to recover their stolen money. In an interview with CNBC, Monahan stated, “We’re trying to launch a platform where people will have a fighting chance to get their money back from scammers.”