How might access within a VR world affect security within the real world layer of the VR system? Would there be a reasonable way in which gaining access using VR would allow access that might bypass layers of security?

The only thing I'm thinking about is that it might allow you slightly greater access to a particular server depending on how the system is structured, but even that feels somewhat weak.

To clarify, I mean the sort of VR world of something like Ready Player One or Sword Art Online in which the characters are mostly interacting through VR in lieu of real world physical action most of the time. I was wondering if there was any real way to tie their virtual movements to "real world" movement from one part of a system to another.

  • $\begingroup$ What do you envision this "VR access" would look like? Similar to The Hitchhiker's Guide? $\endgroup$
    – IronEagle
    Dec 14 '20 at 6:41
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ OK, I get it now. Here's the problem with programming: it only does what it's told to do. If the VR environment is programmed to make it easier to access or circumvent security (kinda foolish...), then it will. If not, it won't. Remember, something as immersive as Ready Player One, if it can ever be done, is decades (and decades) into the future. But, when it comes down to it, IMO, when it comes to writing code, it appears a keyboard will win the day for a very long time. Consequently, this is more something you need to decide for your story vs. expecting it to be real. $\endgroup$ Dec 14 '20 at 8:31
  • $\begingroup$ "Tie their virtual movements to "real world" movement from one part of a system to another": You mean like that infernal Pokémon Go thing? Yes, you can superimpose a virtual environment over the real world; this is called augmented reality. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Dec 14 '20 at 9:17
  • $\begingroup$ There might be problems with the high amount of data transferred when using VR. Maybe it becomes difficult to check everything for viruses when many people are online. Pure speculation this is, though. $\endgroup$
    – Anderas
    Dec 14 '20 at 9:18
  • $\begingroup$ Do you mean being able to alter the VR world while in VR? Should this access be a random event, a glitch of the system or something the character plans out and willingly exploits? The clarification for me confuses your question, maybe because I have no idea of what Ready Player One or Sword Art Online are. $\endgroup$ Dec 15 '20 at 12:29

Realistically it would probably be something well tested for and access would be restricted....but you want it for a story so lets handwave some things:

Your VR headset isn't just reading actions, its reading patterns in your brain waves. The interface is tested for movement because that is all that was expected...but sometimes you don't receive the expected input. This means certain people, who can train themselves to think a certain way, can use patterns in their brain waves to insert unexpected instructions in the code. Because this is so new, no one was aware the inputs needed to be sanitised in this way.

The programmers have approached the problem without considering this even as a possibility - who could conceive that people could use their minds this way? The problem was overlooked and may take a long time to find how its being done.

Some examples of inserts could be to give yourself extra permissions, to alter certain things about the virtual world you're in or even to output extracts from tables on the server. What you choose to do with it is your


The system could be hacked the same way systems today are hacked, or exploits for games are found: by providing unexpected input that triggers bugs like buffer overflows.

The VR input isn't special in this regard, it doesn't matter in principle whether you position your avatar next to a wall and then jump left, right, up via gamepad or VR controllers - you'll trigger a bug which teleports your avatar to a hidden level, or allows root access.

If the necessity to use VR is important for your story you can always say that those specific bugs can only triggered via this input.

What certainly won't work is thinking real hard "There is no spoon."


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