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Are QR Codes the New Way Hackers Can Access Your Information?

11.19.20

QR Codes have rapidly gained popularity during the COV-19 Pandemic. Many businesses and organizations are opting for a QR code to replace brochures, restaurant menus, App links, and more.

Are QR Codes the New Way Hackers Can Access Your Information?


October 20, 2020

 

QR Codes have rapidly gained popularity during the COV-19 Pandemic. Many businesses and organizations are opting for a QR code to replace brochures, restaurant menus, App links, and more. In many instances, gaining access to information is only provided in the form of a QR code. QR codes seem harmless. However, are QR codes always benign?

 

You may be asking yourself, “What is a QR code?” According to Forbes Magazine, “A QR code is a two-dimensional barcode that is readable by a smartphone with a camera or a mobile device with a similar type of visual scanning technology. It allows the encoded image to contain over 4,000 characters in a condensed, machine-readable format and was designed as a rapid method to consume static content based on a specific task.”

 

In a recent survey conducted by Mobile Iron, a large majority of cellphone users who scan a QR code are utilizing “loosely secured mobile devices to scan QR codes, putting themselves and businesses at risk.” This same survey has determined that 70 % of those surveyed have scanned a QR Code within the past month. 

 

According to the 2020 survey conducted by Mobile Iron, many believe that QR codes make our lives easier, as it has eliminated the waste of resources and information distribution time. In fact, 66% of those surveyed in the Mobile Iron survey stated that they believe QR codes have made their lives easier. However, the most concerning information from this survey is that a shocking 48% of those surveyed have concerns about QR codes and continue to use them despite their assumed risks. When asked a similar question of whether or not those surveyed could distinguish a malicious QR code, 64% stated that they did not know how to determine a malicious QR code.

 

How can you tell if a QR code is safe or not? If you are unsure if a QR code is malicious, you can simply ask to receive the information the QR code is intended to give you another way. For example, ask for a paper menu at a restaurant instead. A good rule is not to scan QR codes in public places that you do not know. A great example of this is QR code stickers on public transit or parks; these might seem like an exciting form of guerrilla marketing but could likely lead to a hacking attempt on your mobile device. Many applications are available on Google Play or the App Store that allow you to see the URL links associated with the QR codes you want to scan. 

 

If you are concerned about malicious QR codes or hacking attempts, Synergy Infosec is here to help with our easy-to-use, easy-to-understand dashboard and convenient consulting services.  

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