Hong Kong Police enters metaverse to raise awareness about cyber crime

They have launched a platform where individuals can learn about the metaverse and its challenges.
Ameya Paleja
A hacker in the metaverse
Cyber crimes in the metaverse


The Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau (CSTCB) of the Hong Kong police marked its official entry into the metaverse by launching "CyberDefender" to educate people about the dangers of the metaverse and Web3, a press release stated.

The term metaverse gained prominence after Mark Zuckerberg's company, formerly known as Facebook, rebranded to Meta and announced its intent to build a metaverse. This digital world is envisioned to become the place to work, socialize, and entertain oneself, but it has lost much steam in the past year.

What has not lost steam, however, is the incidence of cybercrimes in this space. As per data from the Hong Kong Police's data, as many as 2,366 cases related to virtual asset classes were reported in the year 2022 alone. This caused financial losses to the tune of US$1.7 billion.

In the first quarter of this year, the police have received 663 complaints, with losses adding up to $570 million, a 75 percent rise compared to the same time last year.

CyberDefender in the metaverse

The CSTCB launched the CyberDefender platform last week, including three virtual venues, namely CyberDefender City, a Web3-themed Gallery, and Auditorium. On the online launch, an online event, "Exploring the Metaverse," was also conducted to raise awareness about threats and opportunities linked with Web3 and the metaverse. The event was attended by teenagers, teachers, and parents, the press release added.

Hong Kong Police enters metaverse to raise awareness about cyber crime
Image from CyberDefender metaverse platform

Chief Inspector of the CSTCB, Ip Cheuk-yu, highlighted that crimes in cyberspace such as investment frauds, thefts, unauthorized system access, and sexual offenses could all happen in the metaverse. He stressed that the decentralized nature of virtual assets in the metaverse also increased the risk of cyber criminals targeting endpoint devices, virtual wallets, and smart contracts.

The event also gave visitors a glimpse at the opportunities the metaverse presents. Attendees were made aware of career prospects as an artist in the metaverse in the non-fungible tokens (NFT) industry as well as the challenges of Web3 and metaverse, which presented new entrepreneurial opportunities in the space.

Hong Kong Police enters metaverse to raise awareness about cyber crime
Images from the Cyber Defender platform

Also featured in the discussion, was the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on the NFT industry and how e-sports can be integrated into the development of Web3.

The platform will be used to launch more public awareness initiatives in the future regarding advancements in informational technology, the importance of preventing technology crimes, and seizing opportunities of the digital age, the press release added.

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