NFTs and the Metaverse | New Cybersecurity Legislation | NCSC Diversity & Inclusion Report 2021
Article by Christopher Lauder, Delegate Relationship Executive, Rela8 Group
NFTs and the Metaverse
First up, let’s look at NFTs which have been making headlines more and more as of late. NFT stands for ‘non-fungible token’. When something is non-fungible, it means that it has unique properties so it cannot be interchanged with something else. Take a house, or a painting like the Mona Lisa which is one of a kind. You can take a picture of the painting, or you can buy a print, but there will only ever be one Mona Lisa.
NFTs are “one-of-a-kind” assets in the digital world that can be bought and sold like any other piece of property but have no real tangible form of their own. It’s easier to think of the tokens as certificates of ownership. With NFTs, artwork can be ‘tokenised’ to create a digital certificate of ownership which can be bought and sold. Like cryptocurrency, a record of who owns what is stored on a shared ledger called the blockchain. These records cannot be forged because the ledger is maintained by computers across the planet.
How much are they worth? In March 2021, artist Beeple sold an NFT for $69 million. Classic memes are also selling for large amounts, with the iconic Doge meme selling for $4 million. From art, to tweets, and virtual real estate, NFTs showcase a new way to trade digital assets, with NFT sales reaching $2.5 billion in the first half of 2021.
What does the future of NFTs look like? Some believe that this is a bubble which could soon burst. Others believe that the future of NFTs are tied to the future of the Metaverse. It has been said by Business Insider that NFTs and the Metaverse will “make you an owner – not just a renter – on the internet.” With the growth of NFTs and the Metaverse expected over the coming years, so is the growth and increasing reliance on cryptocurrency, as NFTs are bought and sold using cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin. With the Metaverse, NFT-controlled access could span a range of use cases, like VIP access to real-life events like conventions, festivals, gigs, or virtual events within the metaverse.
It’s believed that a true Metaverse won’t be available for another 10-15 years. As this begins to take shape, it’s important to keep an eye on how intertwined this growth and development will be with NFTs.
Source - NFT is word of the year - BBC News
Source - What Are NFTs? - BBC News
Source - NFTs and the Metaverse - BBN Times
New Cybersecurity Legislation
At the end of last week, the government introduced new legislation aimed at protecting smart devices in people’s homes from being hacked. These devices include phones, tablets, smart TVs, fitness trackers, and other internet-connectable devices. This comes as recent research from the consumer watchdog Which? suggested that houses filled with smart devices could be exposed to over 12,000 attacks in a single week. For context, the average home in the UK has nine smart devices in their home.
Because of this legislation, which is called the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill (PSTI), default passwords for internet-connected devices will be banned. Firms will be forces to be transparent about the actions that they are taking to fix security flaws in their products, and to create public reporting systems for any vulnerabilities that they discover. Companies will also have a duty to investigate any compliance failures, produce statements of compliance, and maintain the appropriate records of this. Firms that do not comply with this will face enormous fines.
Fines will be issues by a new regulator and will be up to £10 million, or up to 4% of their global revenue. The new regulator will also have the power to force firms to comply with new security requirements, recall their products, or to stop selling or supplying them altogether. Furthermore, Ministers will be able to mandate further security requirements as and when new threats emerge.
Though this does not include vehicles, smart meters, medical devices, or desktop or laptop computers, the government has described it as a “significant step” to protect the UK from hostile activity.
Source - New Cyber Legislation - BBC News
NCSC Diversity & Inclusion Report 2021
At the start of the year, we discussed how the NCSC and KPMG UK would be carrying out their second report which examines diversity and inclusion in cyber security. The report was published last week with many key findings.
- Over a fifth (22%) of cyber security industry professionals have experienced discrimination in the last year. An increase from one in six (16%) in 2020.
- Respondents experiencing career barriers as a result of one of their characteristics has also risen significantly, from 14% last year to 25% in 2021.
- 37% of surveyed individuals with a disability were uncomfortable to disclose their disability at work due to fear of discrimination.
- In 2020, 89% of gay and lesbian respondents said they were confident in disclosing their sexual orientation in the workplace. This has fallen to 76% in 2021. Bisexual respondents experienced a steeper fall in confidence. Only 47% reported feeling comfortable disclosing their identity at work, down from 77% in 2020.
There is more work to be done in terms of representation of women, though there has been a small increase in representation. In 2021 36% of security pros are women, up from 31% in 2020. This increase is mainly more women at the relatively early stages of their security careers, with more senior leaders and CISO’s more likely to be men.