Quick Response (QR) Codes are a type of matrix barcode that stores alphanumeric characters in the form of text or URLs and are convenient ways to access a website. Point your cellphone camera to be taken directly to a webpage. QR codes can also be used to facilitate payments.
As you can imagine, anytime a new technology makes it easier to get people to visit a website—or send money—someone will surely abuse it. In today’s mobile world, a very real threat is hackers' use of QR codes to disguise malicious intent and to install malware. In fact, the FBI recently warned:
“Cybercriminals are taking advantage of this technology by directing QR code scans to malicious sites to steal victim data, embedding malware to gain access to the victim's device, and redirecting payment for cybercriminal use."
Since QR codes mask the website you are visiting, it's easier to scam someone into handing over their personal information. Protect yourself:
- Only scan a QR code from a trusted source.
- Check the URL to confirm it's what you expected before clicking.
- If you get an email with a QR Code, it’s a red flag! QR codes are meant for interactions where you can't just click on a link.
Finally, if you're a business, including the URL on your sign can help your customers have peace of mind when scanning your code.
Concerned about online security when you're on the go? Contact us here to learn more!
First published in our July 2022 IT Radix Resource newsletter