In our increasingly digitised world, Quick Response (QR) codes have become a common sight, from restaurant menus to event tickets. These two-dimensional barcodes simplify information sharing and can offer a convenient experience for users.
However, cyber criminals have also recognised the potential of QR codes as a new tool for their illegal activities. This has become a threat to both individuals and businesses, as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies have enabled employees to hold confidential business data on their personal devices.
In this article, we’ll explore QR code scams that are being leveraged by cyber criminals and how you or your business can avoid them.
QR code scams take various forms, but they all have one thing in common: they capitalise on the trust people place in QR codes, assuming they lead to legitimate content or information. Scammers use QR codes to deceive users into revealing sensitive information, downloading malware, or visiting malicious websites.
Here are some common QR code scams and how they work:
QR code phishing is a malicious practice where cyber criminals manipulate legitimate QR codes to redirect unsuspecting users to malicious websites or phishing pages.
Here’s how it works:
QR codes have also been used to distribute malware to unsuspecting victims. Cyber criminals embed malicious links within QR codes, and when scanned, this code triggers the download and installation of malware onto the victim’s device.
Here’s how it happens:
Cyber criminals have also employed QR codes to create fake WiFi networks or access points, targeting individuals seeking to connect to public Wi-Fi. This tactic is particularly dangerous because it can lead to unauthorised access to personal information and online accounts:
This is how they do it:
Now that we understand the threats, let’s explore how to protect ourselves from falling victim to QR code scams.
While QR code scams are a growing concern, there are steps individuals can take to protect themselves from falling victim to these tactics:
QR codes have become an appealing tool for cyber criminals to conduct various malicious activities, from redirecting users to phishing sites to delivering malware and exploiting fake WiFi networks. To protect yourself from QR code scams, exercise caution, use trusted QR code scanners, and verify the source and destination before scanning. Staying vigilant is key to ensuring that this convenient technology doesn’t become a cyber threat to you.
If you’re a business that operates using a BYOD policy and you have concerns about your employees falling victim to QR code scams, we can help. We support hundreds of business globally with strengthening their security policies, processes, and awareness, so that they can use devices freely, without the worry of cyber crime.
To find out more about how we can support your business with avoiding a QR code scam, get in touch today!