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Digital & Innovation

Healthcare sector to invest in metaverse, despite lack of expertise to address cybersecurity risks

Health Industry Hub | December 14, 2022 |

Digital & Innovation: Australia’s healthcare sector are ahead of other nations with plans to invest in the metaverse, according to new data.

Over half (56%) of organisations within Australia’s healthcare sector plan to conduct business in the metaverse in the next 7 to 12 months, while 41% of UK and only 17% of US healthcare businesses are expected to do so in the same timeframe.

The survey examines how organisations are approaching the opportunities and challenges associated with building, securing and participating in the metaverse, as well as offering insights into the risks and rewards of investing in this new technology.

While still in its relative infancy, organisations are already moving decisively into this space, which McKinsey & Company predicts will grow to $5 trillion by 2030. 

The metaverse holds promising business opportunities for the Australian healthcare sector, the most significant of which include improvements in learning and training (63%), enhanced services (50%) and digital real estate (50%).

“The opportunities the metaverse presents to healthcare are immense,” said Satnam Narang, senior staff research engineer at Tenable.

“Better surgical precision can be achieved and new procedures can be learnt without surgeons having to physically be in the same room. It also provides student doctors more opportunities for learning and collaboration, which collectively elevates the overall standard of health care.

“However, with more connected devices and endpoints introduced to make this immersive environment work, it’s vital that organisations take into account the new threats that can occur and the old threats that could transcend the metaverse. Progressive organisations that start by reevaluating their existing infrastructure will be better equipped to navigate and build out their metaverse environments.”

The study spotlighted significant concerns relating to cybersecurity. In fact, 88% Australian respondents said that conventional phishing, malware and ransomware attacks are a significant threat and 88% also believed compromised machine identities and API transactions of great risk. Additionally, 100% of respondents said cloning of voice and facial features and hijacking video recordings using avatars are unsettling while 81% voiced concerns over invisible-avatar eavesdropping or ‘man in the room’ attacks.

Only 19% of respondents felt very confident in their ability to curb threats in this new environment.

In addition to the cybersecurity threats, respondents identified the lack of a clear process for data privacy (38%), which has significant implications for the healthcare sector considering the recent Medibank data breach.

While it’s clear that security experts are concerned about the metaverse and how it will be navigated, this hasn’t discouraged Australian businesses from taking the first steps into the virtual universe. The data indicated the recognition that a proactive strategy to train, educate and encourage talent will be necessary to enable organisations to operate safely inside the metaverse.


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