Murdoch university experts signal QR codes as vulnerable to web fraud

Friday 21 February 2014 00:09 CET | News

Murdoch University internet security-related group of experts have voiced their worries concerning the incremental use of Quick Response (QR) codes.

Murdoch university expert, Dr Nik Thompson, underlines that consumers cannot really figure out what type of content lies behind each and every internet download because the codes can only be read by a machine like a smartphone or tablet.

Moreover, the expert exemplifies QR-based web fraud types through QR codes which, used maliciously, can either direct users to install malware or link them to possible threat websites. Another example are the marketing campaign codes that can also be used to subscribe people to unwanted services, such as premium SMS.

As an extra example, the expert highlights, a poster with a QR code was displayed on the wall at a security conference, inviting passers-by to scan the code to win an iPad. As long as the conference lasted, 445 people scanned the code and visited the embedded link address without investigating about the reliability of the code. The passers-by behavior, the expert remarks, reflects the possibly dangerous level of trust that is invested in printed materials such as posters.

Relating to QR code features, they can carry up to thousands to characters in comparison with standard barcodes which can represent up to 20 characters of information. Originally used in the automotive industry, QR codes are now used to direct people to URLs, contact details and other online content.

To avoid the scammers, Dr Thompson suggests using QR code readers which allow you to preview the entire URL before proceeding to the website. He also recommends seeking out one of the many anti-malware apps available, developed by well-known internet security companies

Free Headlines in your E-mail

Every day we send out a free e-mail with the most important headlines of the last 24 hours.

Subscribe now

Keywords: Nurdoch university, experts, web fraud, QR code
Categories: Fraud & Financial Crime
Countries: World
This article is part of category

Fraud & Financial Crime

Industry Events