The Covid-19 pandemic has meant a revival for QR codes. From national chains to local eateries, almost all consumer facing businesses have integrated QR codes into their menus, service listings, and more.
While these quick-scan codes can increase convenience for customers and allow for contactless ordering, reservations, or even payment, it has opened the market to yet another vulnerability that can be exploited by cyber criminals. By doctoring or replacing these codes with their own, hackers can send consumers to fraudulent payment gateways, attempt to steal their personal account details, and send them to malicious sites in order to gain control of their devices
With the amount of money lost due to cyber-crime having increased by a staggering 64% in 2021 according to the FBIs annual report, it is crucial to be safeguarded against QR code scams and other ploys to extract crucial financial data.
In this blog post, we will review four easy ways to stay protected against these forms of attack, and what to look out for to spot a potential QR code scam.
1.Use A Security QR Scanner
As a first line of defense against potential threats, it is always wise to use a QR scanner rather than just a phone camera. These apps function much like the anti-virus software used in computers and can perform preliminary security screenings on scanned QR codes before leading to their associated link.
Security companies such as Sophos provide free apps like Sophos Intercept X as free secure QR code scanners.
2.Do Not Pay Any Bills from a QR Link
One of the biggest ways to keep financial information secure is to heavily scrutinize any site where it is entered. As a rule of thumb, businesses should never have customers pay bills via a QR code due to the ease with which these codes can be compromised.
Thus, never enter financial information or pay bills from a QR code.
3.Never Download Apps from a QR Code
While the above tips largely help keep consumer information secure, there is a risk of complete device corruption from scanned QR codes as well. By linking these codes to prompt an app download, hackers can instantly infect consumer devices or install harmful malware to steal or leech out data and account login details over time.
To stay protected, always scrutinize the credibility of any apps before downloading. Check reviews, make sure the app is legitimate, and never download any document or application from a QR code.
4.Review Before Scanning
Before scanning, take a moment to review the QR code on the material which it is printed and make sure it does not appear to have been tampered with. Hackers can, and will, compromise multiple businesses at once by simply applying a sticker over a company’s menu or valid QR code.
Thus, before scanning, ensure there is no overlapping paper or sticker over the QR code and it does not appear to have been tampered with.
Even with constant market changes, hackers are all too ready to adapt. It is crucial to stay up-to-date on potential threats and ensure your devices, and invaluable personal and financial data, are protected. For personal recommendations or information about software integrations that can help safeguard your data, reach out to the cyber security professionals at Exhibit A Forensics.