In the last blog, we read about ‘What a QR code is?’ and ‘What kind of threats are associated with it?’ This piece will list down how to tackle those threats and what type of measures should be considered.

Improvising QR code security

Following are some safety tips that should be kept in mind while scanning QR codes –

  • Be alert with signs of tampering

While scanning QR codes from print material, especially in public areas, there are possibilities that incorrect or manipulative stickers are placed instead of the original one. It’s better to double-check the QR code on any product and analyze whether it fits the design.

  • Check company name and the given URL

It is one of the most critical points all QR code users must double-check. Before scanning, check and ensure – Does this company look legitimate? Does the design look professional? Does the QR Code match? If all these questions are checked off from your list after scanning the QR code and you are redirected to a website, follow the same company verification process.

The next important thing to do is check the URL and see if it’s composed strangely or differs from the website graphics or contains two different names.

  • Be wary of links

After scanning a QR code, a notification shows up that reads the URL inside the QR code. If it contains in the URL, one should be alert when clicking on it as it might not be secure—a lot of companies use as a free URL shortening service.

Very few users know that they can view detailed statistics on any links by adding a sign at the end of the shortened URL.

  • No giving out detailed information

Avoid providing personal information such as login information, passwords, or credit card details after any link redirects to another suspicious page. Many marketing campaigns may even ask for names and email or make direct purchases; in such cases, one should decide whether it feels secure. Irrespective of the context, if something seems fishy, exit from the page.

  • Anti-virus for mobile devices

Anti-virus and anti-malware software needs to be installed on mobile phones, similar to what has been used for desktops. Security software restricts drive-by download attacks and gives notifications for strange URLs.

Also, there is a feature on the cell phone “open website automatically” that needs to be disabled so that when a QR code captures the URL, the user can view the URL first and later decide whether to visit the site or not.

QR code enhances security too!

Even though QR Code technology has an unfortunate association with security issues, there are instances where QR Codes increase security measures. Here are a few examples.

  • Two-step authentication

Many institutions have implemented two-step authentication for storing online information that contains sensitive and personal financial details. This forms an additional security step after punching in login information by showing a QR code scan in a cell phone, through which the website can recognize that it’s the actual user.

  • Bank transactions

Banks have found their way in the QR code technology. QR codes function works well for online banking processes, including two-step authentication login, and accesses certain sections of the profile with sensitive data and confirming bank transfers.

For example, Deutsche Bank is one of the leading banks in Europe that has developed a particular app known as photoTAN. The app facilitates the user with a photoTAN QR code scanned to confirm each bank transaction after providing a set of numbers to enter for each bank transfer.

  • What information does QR code collect?

QR code tracking helps marketers to understand optimized marketing campaigns better. The QR code tracking collects details of the device’s location, time, and operating system with the QR code generator software. In this case, no personal information is collected, and the data is accessible only to the user who created the code.

  • Location

QR Code tracking gathers user data information for city and country locations that do not include specific areas within a city.

  • Time and number of scans

The QR Code Generator software also tracks total scans, unique scans, and how many scans occur over a particular time period.

  • Operating system

The QR Code tracking details also include information on the device’s operating system and assure no further information about the user gets leaked.

  • Perks of using QR code for a business
  • A plus point 

A business using a QR code to differentiate from other business competitors is a plus point. QR codes are yet to be implemented by many businesses, implying there are still some people who have seen QR codes but don’t know what it is.

If propagated correctly, QR codes can hike the curiosity in customers’ prospects alike. Various industries can use it as an opportunity to link QR codes to exclusive offers or valuable content to keep that curiosity through to a sale.

  • Target customers on the go 

Wouldn’t it be interesting to interact with the customers on the go? Integrating QR codes in-store signage and other print advertising can help retailers to connect directly with their customers.

Fascinating customers with coupons for more shopping or an easy way to sign for the latest newsletter, QR codes make it easy for customers to access information fastest on mobile phones.

Final grab

Thus, QR codes are generally secure, but the web pages they point or redirect to may not be. It is necessary to take precautions before scanning QR codes to protect against phishing and malware infection threats.

Different perspectives show QR codes are safe to use, but there are many cases where QR codes are considered additional security measures. Some websites are privileged to use QR codes as part of two-step authentication for their sites. After scanning, customers can log in to their accounts, where they may get a prompt to scan a QR code using their mobile banking apps for additional verification.

It can be inferred that the QR code technology itself has no security issues. As long as the user remains smart and vigilant when using the internet, QR codes are perfectly safe. For marketers, QR codes are a convenient and valuable tool for sending customers to campaign landing pages, collecting data, and launching promotions, primarily when used creatively.

Visit our latest whitepapers on security to understand the current security concerns prevalent in the market.