What does this evolving technology mean for Cybersecurity?
Augmented reality is a growing technology weaving itself into our personal and professional lives. Mass adoption of this tech will take years, but its capabilities and corresponding implications are immense. Right now, we see AR in basic examples such as smartphones and apps. AR uses the hardware camera to examine its environment and render images in real-time. The most common and popular example is Poke’mon Go.
But, if you can believe it, that isn’t the end-all goal of augmented reality. Its uses in multiple industries are vast, from agriculture, security, engineering, and even medicine. And, as businesses seek more remote solutions, AR can provide an innovative way to interact with different environments.
It’s exciting, but also concerning.
What is AR, anyway?
As you know, AR is short for “augmented reality.” Different from virtual reality, the point of AR is to enhance our physical surroundings with technology. How it does that varies, and what is shown also depends. Short term use has, of course, been with various mobile apps. As for the future, rapid development in hardware and software will likely take AR down many roads.
Here’s where the concerns begin.
While AR development and its applications are often discussions with lead developers and teams, put into practice, it paints a picture for a strange new world. That is to say, AR and its interaction with information. Additionally, the security of devices utilizing AR.
We’re likely moving away from smartphones as the sole point of AR integration. In a few years, other types of wearables will appear. We have a few examples right now, like smartwatches. If you’ll recall, Google tried its hand at smart-integrated wearables with Google Glass, the smart glasses. As these options become available to the public, attack surfaces increase. An abundance of cybersecurity questions and concerns arrive with this hardware introduction.
Unpacking AR and its integration with information and respective devices requires long term planning.
- AR integrated devices can potentially view objects and people, bringing up information about that person, which raises questions about information availability and privacy
- AR integrated devices relying on online data are newcomers to the IoT (Internet of Things) arena, which is already a field rife with lapses in cybersecurity problems
- AR-based devices outside of smartphones would require additional knowledge about cybersecurity and what threats they create
- Ethical concerns about information availability and privacy (or lack of)
Think of it this way: let’s say wearables such as smart glasses shift into common use. At a work environment, these glasses could integrate with company data and info (such as pulling up graphics, stats, and even presentations at work). How does one protect that data? Is the data too easy to access? How secure are the glasses?
As AR integrates into common technology more and more, questions like these plague every hardware, potentially exposing personal and professional environments to the internet without their knowledge.
AR currently works in a limited format, but as it expands (and so too its uses), how will cybersecurity respond? What impact will that have on society?
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