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Collaboration in Mixed-Reality

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Front. ICT | doi: 10.3389/fict.2019.00005

Cyber Security Threats and Challenges in Collaborative Mixed-Reality

  • 1University of Oxford, United Kingdom
  • 2Pismo Software, United Kingdom
  • 3University College London, United Kingdom

Collaborative Mixed-Reality (CMR) applications are gaining interest in a wide range of areas including games, social interaction, design and health-care. The vast majority of published work to date has focused on display technology advancements, software, collaboration architectures and applications. However, the potential security concerns that affect collaborative platforms have received limited research attention. In this position paper, we investigate the challenges posed by cyber-security threats to CMR systems. We focus on how typical network architectures facilitating CMR and how their vulnerabilities can be exploited by attackers, and discuss the degree of potential social, monetary impacts, psychological and other harms that may result from such exploits. The main purpose of this paper is to provoke a discussion on CMR security concerns. We highlight insights from a cyber-security threat modelling perspective and also propose potential directions for research and development towards better mitigation strategies. We present a simple, systematic approach to understanding a CMR attack surface through an abstraction-based reasoning framework to identify potential attack vectors. Using this framework, security analysts, engineers, designers and users alike (stakeholders) can identify potential Indicators of Exposures (IoE) and Indicators of Compromise (IoC). Our framework should allow stakeholders to reduce their CMR attack surface as well as understand how Intrusion Detection System (IDS) approaches can be adopted for CMR systems. To demonstrate the validity to our framework, we illustrate several CMR attack surfaces with a set of use-cases. Finally, we also present a discussion on the future directions this line of research should take.

Keywords: Collaborative Mixed Reality, Shared environments, cyber security, Threat modelling, Attack surface, harm

Received: 31 Oct 2018; Accepted: 07 Mar 2019.

Edited by:

Doug A. Bowman, Virginia Tech, United States

Reviewed by:

Gang Wang, Virginia Tech, United States
Blair MacIntyre, Georgia Institute of Technology, United States  

Copyright: © 2019 Happa, Glencross and Steed. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Jassim Happa, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, jassim.happa@cs.ox.ac.uk