HK Police Launch CyberDefender to Help Protect Citizens in the Metaverse


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The Hong Kong Police Force has launched CyberDefender, a new metaverse platform aimed at educating the public about the potential dangers associated with Web3 and the metaverse. 

The platform, developed by the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau (CSTCB), was created to prepare Hong Kong citizens for the challenges ahead in the digital age, with a focus on technology crime prevention, the government said in a recent statement. 

CSTCB's chief inspector Ip Cheuk-yu said CyberDefender is a necessary step towards ensuring citizen safety in the metaverse. Speaking at the platform's official launch event, he urged attendees to exercise caution while navigating the metaverse

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

The decentralized nature of virtual assets in Web3 has raised the risks of asset theft, as cybercriminals can target endpoints, virtual asset wallets, and smart contracts. 

Hong Kong Sees a Rise in Digital Crime

The new initiative by CSTCB comes as there was a significant rise in virtual asset crime levels in Hong Kong during the first quarter of the year.

The Hong Kong Police Force reported 663 cases involving virtual assets, which resulted in a total loss of $570 million, a 75% increase compared to Q1 2022.

As smart cities become more reliant on technology, the Hong Kong Police Force believes its education initiatives can help raise awareness among teenagers regarding the latest advancements in information technology, potential pitfalls, and the importance of preventing technology crimes. 

The CyberDefender Metaverse platform is a necessary tool to create a virtual space where young people can engage in meaningful conversations about the metaverse and the technological risks they face, while also learning how to protect themselves.

Meanwhile, the announcement follows the launch of the China Metaverse Technology and Application Innovation Platform by Nanjing, the capital city of China's eastern Jiangsu province. 

The platform, which is being led by the Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, aims to promote research and development in the metaverse across the country.

Hong Kong to Adop New Regulatory Regime Starting Next Month

Hong Kong’s securities watchdog has concluded its consultation paper on the proposed regulatory regime for crypto trading platforms, which is set to take effect starting in June.

Under the new rulebook, the city-state will allow retail investors in the city to trade specific “large-cap tokens” on licensed exchanges, given that safeguards such as knowledge tests, risk profiles, and reasonable exposure limits are put in place.

The agency will also start providing licenses to crypto exchanges. 

However, it noted that the licensed platforms should “comply with a range of robust investor protection measures covering onboarding, governance, disclosure and token due diligence and admission, before providing trading services to retail investors.”

Hong Kong’s new regulatory regime comes as the city pushes for Web3 and blockchain to position itself as a hub for digital innovation in Asia. 

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