QR codes have been around since the mid-’90s. But the use of QR codes has been steadily rising since the onset of the pandemic. The convenience of one-click viewing of everything from restaurant menus to Google reviews to COVID-19 updates was just the ticket for people in different levels of lockdown and socially distanced isolation. However, although QR codes have always been a lure for cybercriminals, the increasing use of QR codes in comprehensive marketing plans has garnered increased attention from hackers. As a result, we must include QR codes in our overall cyber security protection protocols.
QR codes do not contain security flaws. Technically, a QR code cannot be hacked. However, the final online destinations are contained within the codes. Like any other links, they direct you to websites containing various types of malware, making you more vulnerable to a cyberattack. It doesn’t matter if the code is on a menu, a manual, an email or a text. You cannot tell that a QR code is part of a hacking scheme just by looking at it. It all happens after you’ve scanned the code and connected to its link. Once connected to the hacker’s website, it might automatically download code for malicious programs onto a user’s device. In some cases, the destination site might prompt you to log in, share personal information, users' names, passwords or financial data. As we’ve reported in many cyber security blogs, a best practice for all unknown URLs is to “think before you click.”
Once users have unknowingly scanned a fake QR code, they will likely face a malware attack. Once the fraudulent QR code hack is successful, cybercriminals can have their way with your devices. They can:
There are several other tried and true cyber security steps you can take to help protect against a QR scam:
Malware protection is not a simple matter. As our use of online technology now encompasses so many areas of our personal and business lives, cybercriminals stay in step and continue to find new ways of attacking your private data. Unfortunately, most small to midsized businesses have neither the time nor the budget for a full-time IT department. However, it is essential to employ IT experts to assess your cyber vulnerability and help you design the best layers of protection for your hard-earned data.
DIGIGUARD, specializing in preventing cyber threats, has a wide array of solutions to protect against cybercrimes and ensure you have the best possible protection. It works with small and midsized businesses to establish cyber security best practices to ensure your confidential data is secure and all your devices have the specific protections they require, especially those used for remote-access work. For any business, cyberattacks can have devastating consequences. DIGIGUARD can assess your cyber risks and work with you to design the best protection solutions for your business.
Call DIGIGUARD CYBER SECURITY at 833-33-CYBER (833-332-9237) and visit www.DIGIGUARDsecurity.com to discuss how you can increase your company’s level of cyber security and avoid a deadly cyberattack.