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Best Cybersecurity Practices for VR Headset Users

As more tech giants tap into virtual reality, individuals are increasingly realizing the benefits of VR-supported devices like headsets. These include accessibility through hands-free control and immersive experiences enabled by spatial collaboration. However accessible and engaging VR headsets may be, they can still come with challenges.

For example, VR users may have problems with motion sickness due to the mismatch between the signals sent to the brain versus what the eyes see in the virtual environment. As a result, symptoms like nausea, headaches, and dizziness may arise. The good thing is that VR-induced motion sickness can be minimized in various ways, such as starting with short sessions until you build your endurance and focusing on a fixed point on the display to help your brain adjust to the change in movement.

Another common concern among VR headset users is the risk of cyber threats and attacks. Like other electronic devices, VR headsets can have security vulnerabilities, as evidenced by reports of an “inception attack,” which manipulates users’ interactions in the virtual environment, steals information, and traps them in a malicious VR application in the system. Fortunately, users can address these cybersecurity threats through the following practices.

Use a secure network

VR devices typically require more information than other hardware, like gaming consoles, such as a 360-degree view of your environment for a stereoscopic display and voice and motion detection. As such, you must be connected to a secure network to ensure that this information remains private and will not be vulnerable to hacking and identity theft.

Some VR headsets like Oculus Quest allow you to use a personal VPN to connect to a remote server and hide your IP address and virtual location — allowing you to play online safely and securely. Provider NordVPN notes that aside from hiding your IP from hackers or malicious actors, the VPN's encryption can also enhance your gaming experience by preventing traffic-based speed discrimination from internet service providers (ISPs). However, this option isn't readily available for devices like the Meta Quest. Instead, you can make sure that your home WiFi network is as secure as possible by encrypting your router through WPA3 or WPA2, changing your admin passwords, and removing features like Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) for better security. This will reduce the chances of hackers accessing your home network and personal data through your VR device.

Use unique passwords

VR devices also have password protection, so take advantage of this security feature to prevent third-party actors from logging onto your device and stealing your information from downloaded apps and files. Use a unique passcode that doesn’t contain personal information like your name or birthday.

It also helps to follow the usual password management practices, such as a minimum length of eight characters and a string of mixed-case letters, numbers, and symbols. Besides requiring a password for the device, devices like the Meta Quest also need a separate code to access the digital store. To ensure that you maintain safe and secure access to your device, save your passwords in a separate encrypted password manager or app and make sure your information there is regularly updated.

Enable multi-factor authentication

Another way to protect your VR device from cyber threats and attacks is to enable two-factor or multi-factor authentication. These security features involve a login process that requires more than just entering your password. It may also ask for an email verification code, answers to security questions, or biometric information like a face scan or fingerprint. This way, there’s still a layer of security even when hackers manage to take control of your password through phishing attempts or social engineering techniques.

Perform regular software updates

Lastly, remember to periodically check for software updates and install them accordingly. These updates don’t just include cool new features that improve the gameplay and overall user experience but can also contain settings that involve data privacy and security.

For example, the latest update for the Meta Quest 3 device goes beyond fixing user pain points like the hand gesture needed to access the menu and automatic playback pause when minimizing apps. Specifically, it includes controlling or managing how your photos and videos can be synced from your headset to a web gallery. Other software updates may involve security patches or bug fixes to address potential vulnerabilities.

In summary, VR headsets provide a new avenue for enjoying games and exploring virtual worlds. However, users remain responsible for maintaining their privacy and security through cybersecurity approaches like VPNs and password management to reduce the risk of cyber threats, attacks, and crimes. Continue reading our blog for more VR-related guides and resources.

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