Secure Your QR Code Promotions!
QR 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
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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