Security in Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality environments | NTT DATA

Wed, 09 March 2022

Security in Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality environments

A few days ago, we saw that at ARCO (Feria Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo) Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technologies were being applied to modernize cultural experiences. It is clear that these technologies are changing the way we interact with the environment around us, not only in more recreational activities, but in any area of our lives and, consequently, in business. Through Oculus or Magic Leap glasses we can enter a "new world" and reach the endless possibilities it offers us. Adding digitally generated objects to the real-life environment through smart devices can potentially transform all industries: education, medicine or even security.

Despite the novelty they represent, both technologies have not emerged recently. In the case of Virtual Reality, its origins date back to 1844, when Charles Wheatstone created the stereoscope, a medium whose technique would be the basis of the first virtual reality viewers and whose patterns are still in use today. In the case of Augmented Reality we must go back to 1901, when Frank L. Baum designed a device called Character Maker, which can be considered as a prototype of the ones we use today.

What is the difference between Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality?

Although it may seem a play on words, the fundamental difference between both technologies is what is common in their name: reality or, more specifically, the percentage of reality in each one. While Virtual Reality is a simulated environment totally created by computer, Augmented Reality does not completely replace physical reality, but adds virtual information interactively and in real time to what already exists, for example, allowing an operator to see how to repair a machine step by step through virtual instructions or letting us capture a Pokémon through the camera of our cell phone. 

In some of the projects we are developing at NTT DATA, both technologies are very present. Last year, together with Liberbank, we created a pilot project exploring a new model of personalized attention in an office recreated with virtual reality and, a few weeks ago, we presented a 5G augmented reality application for sporting events at Wayra Labs in Colombia. In the field of cybersecurity we also continue to advance and analyze these new paths, in fact, we must take into account that they offer the same risks as mobile applications (malware, man in the middle attacks...) and, in addition, they include new dangers that must be considered. These potential problems have led us to create a specific laboratory for the security analysis of applications and components running on these environments, allowing us to analyze traffic, memory and other key points.

On March 10th, 11th and 12th, we will present the results of our research on security in Augmented Reality and/or Virtual Reality environments during our participation in RootedCON, the reference IT security conference in Spain that was born more than ten years ago with the purpose of promoting the exchange of knowledge and experiences. In our presentation we will show how to create a test environment that allows to perform security assessments on the applications and services that are established in them. In addition, at our booth and in collaboration with the NTT DATA Smart Operations team, we will have different activities related to Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, to present various applications of these technologies in the field of O&M processes.

The possibilities offered by the use of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are practically infinite and our goal as a company is not only to use them to detect the risks that may exist in this type of simulated environments, but also to accompany our customers to ensure that these environments are completely safe and allow a risk-free interaction. NTT DATA is a strategic partner in cybersecurity issues, which drives us to continue improving and advancing in the application of emerging technologies in order to support and protect our customers and their business activities in all sectors.