Every day QR codes help to connect more and more people. These can be used for many things, including paying, sending your information, opening documents, and more. They are pretty helpful, and we are getting accustomed to using them more often, which is good. However, as with many other new technologies, people find ways to cheat the system and take advantage.
That being said, you must know that QR codes are not the exception. There are hackers around the world that dedicate a lot of time to stealing information from those codes. Now being used as a payment method, there is a lot of money going through those codes, so be alert and safe.
QR Scanning Process
Many people that use this system might not know what happens when they scan the code. However, the process is not the same in every case. It depends on the phone, the app you are using, and what the QR code contains.
Many phones come with an automatic scanner that will scan any code if you open your camera and hold it over the code. However, other phones need a scanner app to do it. This will affect how your phone will scan the code.
In the case where the QR code contains a URL for a webpage, two things can happen. One, the code will take you straight to the webpage, or it could send you a pop-up message where it asks you whether you want to proceed and go to the webpage or not.
QR Code Issues
As explained before, people try to cheat the system and profit from it, meaning that they are stealing with this new technology.
The QR codes can be used to link them to an URL or internet link. Since you cannot see the link before scanning the code, you might open a malicious link for your phone without even noticing. Most people might not know that QR codes have the potential to text someone, write an email, or even make a phone call.
The QR codes on social media apps can generate issues with your smartphone since they can even add a contact to your phone or share your location. All of this can happen without even the victim knowing. This could be a pretty tricky issue since they can take information from you, and you can’t do anything since you’re not aware of what is happening.
There is a special kind of code that is especially risky. The dynamic QR codes can be altered after the QR code was generated. This means that you can receive a QR that delivers you to a restaurant menu one day, and the following day, someone can alter it to take you to a different URL. This is very dangerous. People might think they know what that code is but don’t, and they end up trusting a mystery QR code.
Also, the mass implementation of QR codes went hand in hand with the implementation of cryptocurrencies. The issue with this fact is that usually, Bitcoin addresses are given through QR codes. They usually do it that way because it is far easier compared to an actual Bitcoin address. This gave the possibility to people to steal Bitcoins.
How to Avoid Scams
There are some things you could do to prevent scams. It will not assure 100% that nothing will happen. But if you follow these tips, you will probably avoid falling for a scam and save yourself some issues.
You should first contact the person who sent you the QR code and ask them if they sent it willingly. Sometimes hackers manage to send QR codes, and the supposed sender doesn’t even realize it.
The second thing you should do is look for the URL that appeared right after you scan the code. These URLs can be harmful to your smartphone or computer, or they can follow you to an undesired webpage. You never know, be careful.
Also, you should have a mobile defense solution that will help you detect phishing attempts and unauthorized downloads. However, nothing can be confident, and be sure that QR codes are risky. People will probably create something soon to make them safer, but still, you should be careful.
You can ask yourself a couple of questions before you scan one of these codes. The first will be if there is anything else you can do instead of scanning the code. You might be able to type the URL. Another question that can help you is whether you can see the link before going inside it and getting a pop-up message.
The last question you should ask yourself is if the QR code is made to need a specific scanner app, or you can open it with the camera by itself. Some codes need you to download a scanner app to be opened; otherwise, they are just unscannable.
QR codes are an excellent advancement in technology, and I believe we can give them good use. But first, we need to control the system. We have the opportunity to change many things with these codes shortly. This system can eliminate many minutes of just typing down information. The QR codes are very fast to access. Instead of going into the internet and typing the link, you can be on the web pages in seconds.
However, we need to be careful; hackers everywhere are trying to get anything up for grabs. The codes contain information, so maybe it is something you don’t want to share with strangers. It will be beneficial to make them as secure as having the information in your pocket, but for now, it is believed that we should use them for non-important documents or valuable passwords.