On A High Alert – Hackers Alter QR Codes To Steal Money.

by | Mar 7, 2024

Cybercriminals manipulate QR codes in both digital and physical form to swap out trustworthy codes with malicious ones. There’s a global FBI Issues Warning Regarding Malicious QR Codes

QR (Quick Response) codes are widely used and can be seen everywhere. They may be used to make contactless payments via mobile payment apps, peruse paperless menus, and even find people in Covid-19 situations. Because of their widespread use and practicality, QR codes have become attractive and profitable targets for cybercriminals, who use them to propagate malware, access private data without authorization, or steal money. Businesses and users need to take precautions to avoid being harmed by harmful QR codes as QR code attacks increase.

The Use Of Malicious Qr Codes By Cybercriminals

Similar to barcodes, QR codes use square arrangements of black-and-white squares inside of a bigger square to hold encoded data. Compared to barcodes, QR codes are simpler to read and scan. A smartphone camera can scan QR codes, which offer quick and simple access to websites, direct payment to recipients, prompts to download apps, links to PDF files, and more.

By itself, QR codes are safe and unable to be attacked directly. However, creating fraudulent QR codes is quite simple for attackers. They might manipulate digital and analogue codes to swap out trustworthy ones for malicious QR codes. Using online tools, they could manipulate the pixelated dots in a way that would make the difference in the code invisible to the average user.

A QR code can potentially include a malicious link that contains malware, according to attackers. As a result, when the unaware victim scans the QR code, malware is instantly downloaded and turned on on their device. Alternatively, the infected QR code may send users to a phishing website, where the attacker can trick the victim into carrying out their instructions.

Threats that Make Use of Malicious QR Codes:

  • Malicious codes are substituted for valid codes in public areas or unattended codes in businesses.
  • Attacks using QR codes are called quishing
  • Attacks using QRL-jacking or QR-based clickjacking
  • Phishing attempts using QR codes in emails

What Can Businesses Do To Safeguard Themselves Against Malicious Qr Codes?

Use a strong security solution to protect all devices. Employees frequently access corporate networks and resources using personal smartphones due to the growth of remote working and BYOD. So let’s say a worker used a bogus website to provide login information or download malware after scanning a malicious QR code. In such instance, you expose the firm resources to threats.

To prevent this, make sure that powerful, intelligent, multi-layered, and fully managed security solution Web Application Firewall is installed on all devices, including BYOD. Such a system routinely monitors for sophisticated malware and other sophisticated threats and prevents them. They can adjust the programme further to prevent unwanted downloads.

Content Filtration :

The majority of QR code assaults force users to download malicious attachments or files or lead them to malicious websites. You need to use a security solution that can examine links and attachments and restrict access to those that contain malware or dubious information if you want to safeguard QR codes effectively.

Multi-Factor Authentication Should Be Used:

Malicious QR codes are frequently used by attackers to trick unsuspecting users into divulging their passwords and login information. You may lessen your dependence on passwords alone for security and resist a variety of threats that take use of stolen login credentials and passwords by deploying multifactor authentication.

Apply Stringent Access Controls :

You can limit the amount of harm that attackers can do after obtaining login credentials by putting in place strong, role-based access control measures.

Brands should include their distinctive branding features in the design and templates for QR codes so that they complement your landing page. If at all feasible, include a unique brand domain or business domain name to your QR code. The user’s trust in utilising the QR code is increased by this. When modifying and producing QR codes, collaborate with companies that offer secure, compliant, and certified solutions.