The vulnerability in QR codes increases along with adoption

Nowadays many businesses are focusing on implementing QR codes to allow touchless transactions and services for their employees, customers, and suppliers. Unfortunately, the ‘bad actors’ are quick to capitalize on the technology and using the same to benefit their malicious activity.

In fact, reports suggest that fraudsters are combining social engineering with QR codes to access bank accounts, install malware, and even breach entire corporate networks.

What makes QR codes vulnerable?

With the onset of coronavirus and using digital products to protect the spread of infection, QR codes have become a necessity. However, they are also threat vector for fraudsters, according to MobileIron’s QR Codes: Consumer Sentiment Survey. The study is based on interviews of hundereds of consumers across the US and the UK. The key insights recorded from the study include:

The authenticity of QR code is indistinguishable

As per the response of 63% participants, most QR codes are hard to identify as either legitimate or malicious. 25 percent of respondents has also had a QR code misdirect them to a suspicious site.

QR codes are in demand

The study noted that 46% of the survey respondents have scanned a QR code at a restaurant or bar and 38% at a retailer. 

Moreover, 58% of consumers want to see QR codes used more broadly in the near future; while only 11% of respondents do not want to see QR codes used more widely.

There are multiple ways to hack mobile via QR code

MobileIron reports that there are around ten ways a simple QR code can be used to hack a mobile device. This includes getting hold of the victim’s contact lists, email, text, geographical location, bank account, and other personal details.

Protection is vital

By looking at the severity of QR code threats, Alex Mosher MobileIron’s Global Vice President of Solutions, says that company’s using QR codes for their advantage should also integrate safety protocols for the same. 

He further explains that implementing cybersecurity protocols that offer unified endpoint management can mitigate the risks as this technology monitors every aspect of the QR codes without compromising on productivity.

Final Words

With ‘work from home’ protocol increasing globally, the need to protect mobile devices is apparent. QR codes and touchless transactions are gaining popularity day by day but often a vulnerability in the code can put the user’s personal and professional data at risk. Therefore, MobileIron strongly emphasizes that enterprises select proactive measures to protect their company from data breach and other security risks.


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