Hong Kong police launch metaverse initiative to study web3 risks and opportunities

The Hong Kong Police Force has launched a new platform called CyberDefender in the metaverse to address potential dangers. The platform aims to protect Hong Kong citizens in their Web3 and metaverse activities by educating them and raising risk awareness. In addition to promoting cybercrime prevention, the Hong Kong Police Force also wants the younger generation to learn about crimes in the emerging metaverse.

The CyberDefender platform was developed by the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau (CSTCB), the cybersecurity unit of the Hong Kong Police Force. In a statement, the police force of the Chinese special administrative city said:

“Police will continue to organize public education initiatives on different themes through the ‘CyberDefender Metaverse’ platform, raise awareness among teenagers regarding the latest advancements in information technology, potential pitfalls, and the importance of preventing technology crimes.”

However, despite the platform’s guardrails, the Hong Kong Police also seeks to foster the advantages and opportunities posed by decentralized technology. The outfit explained that CyberDefender would better prepare the younger generation to “seize the opportunities in the digital age”.

Hong Kong Police CSTCB Emphasizes the Need for Cyber-Security Vigilance in Metaverse

On the same day CyberDefender launched, Ip Cheuk-yu, chief inspector of the platform’s developer, emphasized security consciousness. At a virtual event, the CSTCB’s Cheuk-yu said:

“All crimes in cyberspace could also happen in the metaverse, such as investment frauds, unauthorized access to systems, theft, and sexual offenses.”

The chief inspector also said that the metaverse and other decentralized technology make asset theft more likely:

“The decentralized nature of virtual assets in Web3 may also increase the likelihood of cyber criminals targeting endpoint devices, virtual asset wallets, and smart contracts.”

According to Cheuk-yu, Web3, and metaverse users should practice the same level of vigilance deployed when using the internet. The chief inspector’s warning comes after Hong Kong experienced a significant rise in virtual asset crime in the first quarter of 2023. According to reports, the Chinese special administrative city saw 663 virtual asset theft cases in Q1 following last year’s sizable loss. The total loss value for the first three months of 2023 amounted to $570 million, or a 75% increase from the deficit suffered in Q1 2022.

Hong Kong Committed to Adoption of Decentralized Technology

Hong Kong’s new metaverse security initiative underscores the city’s commitment to preparing its citizenry for future digital-age challenges. Earlier this month, Hong Kong expressed a willingness to embrace blockchain technology to induce municipal development. However, the special administrative city also warned crypto businesses and players not to expect special treatment ahead of its regulatory scheme.

At the time, Hong Kong Monetary Authority CEO Eddie Yue Wai-man proposed tight regulations despite the city’s crypto-friendly disposition. Yue further noted that any crypto business in opposition to said stringent guidelines could take their business elsewhere.

Hong Kong has joined many governments worldwide to embrace decentralized technology despite last year’s meltdowns. The special administrative city seeks to promote economic prosperity by becoming a global virtual asset center. By comparison, mainland China remains largely conservative regarding digital assets.