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New VR Malware Found Infecting Android-Based VR Devices

Are we completely safe in VR? VR industry players continue to improve their systems to assure users that they are safe while fully immersed in VR. However, recent studies by a cybersecurity firm may prove otherwise. ReasonLabs, a cybersecurity firm, has found a new malware that targets Android VR headsets. As a result, headsets like Meta Quest may be vulnerable. This hacking method is referred to as Big Brother malware.

How Big Brother malware attacks

While PCs are in an idle state and waiting for devices to connect in developer mode, Big Brother malware infects them. When a computer is infected, the malware waits for it to connect to a VR device.  A TCP port is then opened that enables hackers to record your virtual reality experiences remotely anytime you join the same Wi-Fi network as the infected computer. This means hackers can see your sessions in VR without you knowing.

Developer Mode warning

ReasonLabs cautions that this most recent discovery demonstrates the dangers of switching to developer mode. When sideloading VR games and programs to gadgets like the Meta Quest, users frequently switch to developer mode as a prerequisite. Other businesses do this to operate their exclusive applications for clients and employees.

“It’s important for consumers to understand the risks in switching their devices to Developer Mode,...If Developer Mode is necessary, be sure to take the proper precautions by utilizing next-generation endpoint protection solutions on all personal devices,” said ReasonLabs in an official statement. 

Big Brother threats

Not only is having someone spy on your VR sessions alarming, but it is also especially a threat to enterprises who need to have a similar developer mode setup susceptible to this attack. Healthcare and Military VR setups have a lot of information within their VR systems that hackers can use. Meanwhile, as an average user, having someone access through the Big Brother malware may expose your email and passwords. Being infected with the malware could also easily use up your monthly allotment if you have a data cap. That’s because the hackers could collect and send a lot of data in the process. 

ReasonLabs urged VR users to take precautions by implementing end-point safeguards on their devices. Here's a good reason not to use developer mode whenever you can. Regarding these security risks, we'll keep you informed. For all of us in VR, being always informed is still the best way to go. 

Thank you for reading!
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