The illustrious internet security company AVG has been warning of an impending wave of cyber crime for years. The company has made a name for itself combating the threats present on the Internet, but now hackers are using a new tool that the company cannot protect anyone against: The QR code. According to AVG, the unassuming little barcodes have been causing a problem in online security lately. The problem lies in the inviting nature of the codes.
QR codes are a popular marketing tool whose expansion in the realm of advertising has been expedited by the abundance of mobile technology. The codes are appearing in magazines, newspapers, billboards and a multitude of print media and people are more than eager to scan them with their smart phones. Despite the age of the barcodes – they were first developed in Japan in the 90’s – they have only recently become popular in the U.S.
The security issue inherent with the codes is that their users have no way of telling just where they will be taken after scanning them. In a normal Internet browser, a user can see the web address they are traveling to by clicking on a link. There is no such feature with QR codes. Given the popularity of the codes, many people are likely to scan the codes without giving a second thought as to what they might be linked to.
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AVG says that QR codes have opened up an unprecedented level of trust on the Internet. This trust, however, is easily exploited by anyone with malicious intent. The recent outbreak of big-name companies with millions worth of protection ought to serve as a warning that anyone is at risk of cyber crime, according to AVG.