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Augmented reality = augmented risk

October 17, 2016 by Marie Hattar

Will a pair of Snapchat Spectacles be on your next shopping list?  The first piece of hardware from the photo and video messaging giant is a fun, colorful pair of glasses. With a tap of a button they take a circular video from the precise point of view of the user – which, inevitably, is then linked to the Snapchat app itself.

The true impact of Snapchat Spectacles on the marketplace remains to be seen of course, but many are predicting that they could help usher in new applications for virtual or augmented reality. The extraordinary success of Pokémon GO earlier this year demonstrated just how great the consumer appetite for clever, compelling augmented reality applications can be.

Augmented reality has great potential in the workplace too. For example, what if an employee could point their smartphone at your office printer and immediately pull up a video on how to clear a paper jam or change the toner? It’s easy to imagine augmented reality driving corporate efficiency and giving staff members more autonomy and control.

Unfortunately, it is also easy to imagine augmented reality bringing very real security risks into those organizations, as Ixia’s Scott Register described in a recent article.  Augmented reality applications process a vast amount of data, including personally-identifiable information, making the AR data streams a very tempting target for malicious hackers.  Insecure communication protocols and even fake versions of AR apps with malware ‘baked in’ are very real concerns, as the article describes in detail.

As such, forward-looking organizations should consider now how to best manage the potential impact of augmented reality on their security posture. There are three key elements to an effective augmented reality security strategy.

First, a comprehensive mobile device management (MDM) solution should be in place, since most augmented reality apps at this stage target the smartphone market.  Second, ongoing employee awareness and training should be implemented. Carelessness and human error are all too often easy vulnerabilities for cybercriminals to target, and it is vital that employee education responds to the latest threats, rather than staying static for years on end.

Third, you need to ensure that you are set up for comprehensive, real-time visibility of app traffic across your network.  Essential elements of an effective visibility solution are intelligent filtering and distribution, including across Layer 7 application flows and encrypted traffic, at line rate with zero loss of packets. Click here to find out more about solutions providing total visibility.

Augmented reality could all too easily mean augmented security risks for your organization, so it is vital to get ahead of the curve now with an AR visibility and risk mitigation strategy.  If you’d like to understand more about how to do this, contact us for a demo