Unassuming codes could link to harmful content
QR codes are one of the technologies that have taken the marketing industry by storm. The unassuming, black and white barcodes have begun popping up just about anywhere. Marketers have taken a keen interest in QR codes because of their ability to engage mobile consumers – those with smart phones and other mobile devices. While marketers have proven to be enamored by the mobile technology, consumers have been divided on their use, partly because of reports concerning malicious QR codes.
QR codes are popular with marketers and hackers
Malicious codes are becoming more popular with hackers and those looking to obtain a consumer’s personal information. This popularity is due to the fact that QR codes themselves are so simple to produce and have a tendency to attract a great deal of attention. The codes are not inherently dangerous, but can be linked to content that can infect a mobile device and steal a wealth of information from a consumer. The potential threats of malicious QR codes were highlighted at the B-sides Pittsburgh cyber security conference that was held last week.
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Experiment shows that consumers are willing to scan unknown codes
During the conference, Eric Mikulus, a cyber security expert, warned of the threat that malicious QR codes present. To illustrate the point, Mikulus revealed that he had conducted his own experiment using QR codes he created. These codes were posted at random locations throughout the local area. Some of these codes seemed to be linked to content associated with an official business, while others were nothing more than a QR code. Mikulus found that, despite the apparent association of the codes, consumers scanned them without a second thought. The codes did not link to malicious content, but the experiment shows, at least in part, that consumers could be at risk.
Security software for scanning applications could be an effective way to mitigate malicious QR codes
Malicious QR codes are becoming a serious subject in the cyber security industry. As a whole, the industry is divided on how to tackle the issue. QR codes can be scanned using a mobile application that acts as a barcode scanner. Some experts suggest that including security software with these applications could be a good way to keep mobile consumers from being taken advantage of by malicious QR codes. Also, its a good idea to scan codes that you know, from a reputable source, and never put in personal information if asked. Check out this article on QR code security and how to avoid a problem.