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How to Minimize Augmented Reality Security Risks: A Brief Roadmap

November 3rd, 2023

Category: augmented reality

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Posted by: Team TA

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Augmented Reality (AR) has witnessed exponential growth in recent years, transforming industries like gaming, healthcare, education, and manufacturing. Its significance lies in its ability to blend the digital and physical worlds, offering immersive experiences, increased productivity, and innovative solutions. As AR becomes an integral part of our daily lives and business operations, it is crucial to address the potential security risks associated with it. As per a recent report by Markets and Markets, the Augmented Reality (AR) market is expected to grow to a whopping $77 billion by 2025. However, with the increasing adoption, augmented reality security risks are also on the rise. A survey by ABI Research in 2022 revealed that 62% of the respondents were worried about the safety of their data while using AR/VR devices. These statistics highlight the financial and reputational risks associated with ignoring AR security.

Common Augmented Reality Security Risks

  1. Data privacy breaches

Data privacy breaches in AR technology are a serious concern with profound implications. When user data, location information, or personal content is compromised, it can lead to identity theft, financial loss, or reputational damage. An example is the 2019 Harry Potter: Wizards Unite AR game, which inadvertently exposed sensitive data, including names and locations of players.

  1. Malicious content injection

Cybercriminals can use advertising on AR channels, websites, or applications to plant harmful content. Users who click on tampered ads or promo codes are redirected to virus- infected servers or websites, which can cause accidents, spread misinformation, or endanger user safety. These incidents can erode trust in AR applications and harm the reputation of AR technology.

  1. Web Browser Dependency 

WebAR is specific to certain browsers. Unfortunately, web browsers do not have built-in capabilities for augmented reality (AR). To overcome this limitation, developers created tools that enable users to access AR app development services. However, these tools may disable some of the browser’s security measures, which can make AR applications vulnerable to various risks, such as the insertion of malicious code, data leaks, and poor user experiences.

  1. Social Engineering Manipulation

Social engineering tactics manipulate users into revealing sensitive information or taking harmful actions. Sometimes, attackers may impersonate trusted entities or create convincing AR experiences to deceive users. This can lead to data breaches, unauthorized access, or the dissemination of false information, undermining trust, and security in AR applications.

  1. Lack of Standardized Security

Augmented Reality is an emerging technology, which is still in its early stage of development. Due to the absence of universally recognized guidelines and protocols, security features implemented in AR applications become inconsistent and ad hoc. This leads to vulnerabilities that can be exploited by malicious actors, potentially compromising user data, privacy, and safety. Augmented Reality Markup Language (ARML) lacks comprehensive security controls, and the implemented security standards are not universally followed.

AR Security Best Practices: Taking the Right Steps Forward

  1. Risk Assessment and Threat Modeling

The first crucial step in minimizing AR security risks is conducting a comprehensive risk assessment and threat modeling. This involves identifying potential threats and vulnerabilities specific to your AR system, understanding their potential impact, and prioritizing them based on severity. According to a report by Verizon, 70% of data breaches are caused by external actors. A robust risk assessment can help organizations identify and mitigate external threats that may target AR systems.

  1. Secure Development Practices (SDPs)

Early identification and mitigation of security vulnerabilities is crucial in preventing attackers from exploiting them. This is where Security Development Processes (SDPs) come into play. SDPs enable developers to proactively identify and address potential security issues in the development process, thereby safeguarding user data, preventing unauthorized access, and enhancing overall system security.

Secure coding practices, regular code audits, and adherence to established security standards are key components of SDPs. These practices not only protect AR solutions from potential threats but also instill user confidence in the technology, thus fostering a safer AR environment.

  1. Examine the Fine Print in Privacy Policies

It is crucial to read and comprehend the privacy policy of any AR app or service before using. This will help you understand what data is being collected and how it is used. For example, in 2019, Pokemon Go; faced criticism after it was discovered that their privacy policy allowed access to extensive user data. Without comprehending these policies, users can unknowingly expose their personal information to potential risks. By carefully reviewing privacy terms, as was done in the case of Pokemon Go, users can evaluate the security implications, make informed decisions, and hold developers accountable for responsible data handling, ensuring a safer AR experience.

  1. Installing Anti-Malware/Antivirus Software

According to AV-TEST, a leading independent IT security institute, more than 350,000 new malicious programs are identified every day. This staggering number highlights the continuous growth of malware threats. Installing antivirus software can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to such threats. Antivirus software provides an added layer of protection against malicious code, trojans, and other cyber threats. It helps maintain data integrity, protects user privacy, and ensures a safer and more reliable AR experience.

  1. Reliable VPN Service Provider

VPNs encrypt internet connections, ensuring data privacy and anonymity, which is especially important when using AR apps that often involve sharing location and personal information. In AR, where users interact with a digital overlay on the physical world, maintaining privacy and security is paramount. A high-quality VPN ensures that sensitive data transmitted between the AR device and servers remain confidential, reducing the risk of data breaches and unauthorized access. 

  1. Continuous Monitoring and Incident Response

In 2019, a vulnerability in the AR, ZapBox allowed attackers to inject malicious code into AR experiences, potentially leading to harmful consequences for users. A well-prepared incident response plan is crucial in mitigating such incidents. Continuous monitoring helps identify security breaches, vulnerabilities, or unusual activities promptly allowing for swift action before extensive harm occurs. With an effective incident response plan, organizations can mitigate the impact of security incidents, reducing potential financial losses and reputational damage. Rapid response to security incidents also demonstrates a commitment to user security, fostering trust among AR application users. As the threat landscape is constantly evolving, regular monitoring and incident response allows organizations to adapt to new security challenges and stay ahead of emerging threats.

Future-Proofing AR Security

The future of AR security is marked by promising developments and daunting challenges. Organizations must invest in robust encryption and authentication mechanisms to protect data and ensure user trust. Continuous monitoring and vulnerability assessments are essential for detecting and addressing emerging threats promptly. Collaboration within the AR industry and adherence to standardized security practices can help set a baseline for security across the ecosystem. Additionally, educating users about potential risks and responsible AR usage empowers them to be vigilant and contributes to a safer AR environment.

If you are looking for guidance on AR app development services and security solutions, don’t hesitate to approach TA. As a leading AR software development company, we have experienced experts who can deliver the best app to bring your vision to life.


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