Category Archives: Tech News

QR Code Security

By | Tech News | No Comments

Secure Your QR Code Promotions!

AppThat's QR CodeQR Code Security is something most people don’t think about when using them everyday. If you didn’t know a QR or “Quick Response” code is the matrix format, overachieving child of the barcode.  It was conceived around the turn of the century, but has only recently come into its own with the advent of Smartphone popularity.

Many retailers of various kinds are now utilizing these little gems to grow their business, but today we’d like to take a quick look at the risks and hopefully up skill you on some QR code security practices.

Hackers and creators of malicious software are typically your biggest threat here.  Google, or your computer’s security software will warn you if you’re about to visit a website that contains known Malware, or you might sense that something isn’t quite right with a web page.  Just the same, you’re probably used to the dozens of dodgy emails you’ve recieved over the years and know what to look out for. But what about a malicious QR code, would you even know what one looked like? Let’s assume that answer is no, and you’d be about in the same boat as us there. It’s just a square bar code looking thing right!?

But how can you discern where that QR code is taking you?  It’s just a series of black and white squares and rectangles after all.  It might be on a poster of a brand you trust, but what if someone has rolled up and plastered their own QR code over the old one?  Where could this code take you? I’ll tell you where…. anywhere it pleases. QR code security is important for everyone.

That QR code could take you to web pages which could do any of the following or even worse:

  • Make your calendar, contacts, and even credit card information available to criminals
  • Steal your Facebook, Google, and other passwords and posting without your knowledge or permission
  • Track your location for criminal purposes
  • Infect your device with malware that could disable it and do any number of other nasty things


QR Code Security Flaw

But it isn’t all doom and gloom; documented cases of QR code abuse are only a drop in the bucket compared to the aforementioned e-Abuse via the web and email.  The end user just needs to be sensible and cautious.

Here at AppThat we specialize in QR coupons & Promotions, and QR code security is high on our priority list. Many a times have we talked customers out of promotions they’re thinking about because of how they were planning on structuring them.  We try to mitigate risk by encouraging our clients to have offers that are single use per device, expire (or have a time limit before re-use) and are limited to the “buy one and receive another of equal or lesser value free” principle.We also discourage them from displaying QR codes in public places where people could easily stick their own malicious QR code over their legitimate one.

Final Thoughts on QR Code Security

The main message we’d like to get across is to make sure you know what you’re scanning when you come across them and if you’re advertising them, please do so sensibly. If you’re in doubt about when or how to use them please don’t hesitate to ask us.  Whether you’re a customer of ours or not we’re more than happy to give you some free advice on your use of these smart device digital counterparts. QR code security is important, and being smart about the possible vulnerabilities is just another way you can stay safe in an increasingly online world.

Happy QR coding smartphoners!

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Facts about the mobile market

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By 2014, mobile internet is set to overtake fixed internet access. This was the big headline from Microsoft Tag’s Mobile Marketing infographic last year.

No surprise perhaps, seeing that out of the world’s 4bn mobile phones in use, 1.08bn are smartphones, and apps have become a global phenomenon. Apple’s App Store alone has now reached 25bn downloads; tracking at 1bn downloads a month, a figure nine times greater than the number of burgers sold by McDonald’s!

Consumer’s expectations are changing and as more and more businesses go mobile, you need to ensure you’re not losing customers by not moving with them.

Some Interesting facts

  • 86% of people are using their mobiles while watching TV!!
  • 4 Billion phones worldwide VS 1.5 Billion televisions worldwide & 1.4 Billion Internet users (Holy Moly!)
  • New Zealand has 62.11 mobile phones per 100 people that’s more than the United States which slide in at 48.81 mobiles per 100 people.(Source)

The U.S. mobile app sweet spot is the 35-44 year-old age group, according to and Harris Interactive research.

And that was in 2010 ?? We’re two years past that and Apple alone has sold over 184.542 million iPhones since October 2010!! Then you have to remember that the Samsung Galaxy has almost equally as many sales and those are only 2 of the big players in the mobile smartphone market.

The mobile market is huge and everything is getting smaller, the days of having websites that you view on a desktop are slowly dwindling and everything is converting to fit the appliance it’s working on. Websites are only a destination;  Mobile Apps can send notifications, utilise native functionality on smart devices and are far more flexible. Almost everyone who owns a mobile has it within arms reach and the second it beeps they pick it up immediately.  Unlike a radio or tv ad that may just play in the background and be ignored, there is no ignoring at TXT or Push Notification.

The better question is can you afford not to be in the mobile market ? Make sure to speak to mobile app specialists if you do decide to utilise this exciting new marketing channel.  They can help you figure out everything you need to know to get the most out of your mobile marketing experience.
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