QR codes can come with pharming risk

qr codes security

These barcodes and portal sites could expose mobile device to security threats.

There is a form of pop up window that is becoming more common for mobile internet surfers and that is posing a threat both for them and users of QR codes in terms of the security of their personal information.

Device users are being advised to pay close attention to the barcodes they’re scanning and the pages they click.

According to Bitscan, an internet security company from South Korea, QR codes and popular portals such as Daum and Naver may no longer be the innocent and safe options that they once appeared to be. It has been reported that particularly in the case of the portals, but also among the barcodes (to a smaller degree), unethical marketers and scammers are using these areas as a part of their pharming efforts.

qr code securityBy scanning sketchy QR codes or using those portals (particularly their pop ups) risks could rise.

Information stolen through the scan of a the wrong QR codes or clicking certain pop ups could allow personal information from a device to be revealed to a third party or could even cause it to be stolen, deleted, or used for making calls or purchases. IT World, a Korean tech website, pointed out that there had been five different banks – so far – where pharming attacks have occurred and in which important data had been lost.


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The majority of the time, QR codes are perfectly harmless and scanning them will open an informational or mobile commerce website or the download option for an app, for example. However, there is a growing number (albeit still a small one) of malicious barcodes that, if scanned, could redirect an individual to a site that will allow the barcode’s developer to be able to access the personal information stored on that device.

Though it is still considered to be quite safe to scan QR codes, it is still recommended that device users be very careful which barcodes they decide to read. Users should make sure that they can trust the source of the barcode and check to be sure that a sticker with a new black and white square has not been placed over top of the original to fool unsuspecting scanners.

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