Experts Warn on The Dangers of QR Codes, Say They May Target Your Vital Information

Experts Warn on The Dangers of QR Codes, Say They May Target Your Vital Information

  • Experts have warned about the indiscriminate use of QR codes, saying they can target users' critical data
  • According to them, some codes may appear harmless, but they are fraught with huge risks that may affect users financially
  • QR codes were first invented in 1994 by an automobile company to track their cars but became widespread during the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has made Quick R codes very popular as it sent it from a semi-niche concept to a virtual necessity.

Supermarkets, restaurants and bars embraced the use of QR codes to provide payments or other services without passing germs or infections and all types of businesses it as a means of paying for goods and services.

QR codes, cybercriminals, COVID-19
QR codes can lead to data theft Credit: dowell
Source: Getty Images

Hackers on the prowl with malicious QR codes

Unfortunately, experts have said that some QR codes are fraught with risks as it makes it easier for cybercriminals and exposes users to risks.

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The codes are not harmful when used for their intended reasons. By pointing the camera of any smartphone at a QR code, it automatically pops up a link you can tap to visit the specific website.

However, experts warn that QR code users do not usually know where it will take them.

Short for Quick Response code, it is a square with a unique pattern, more like a barcode that contains data like a locator, identifier or tracker, Len Noe told Forbes.

QR codes can send users to unintended sites

Noe said they can be read by a smartphone or other camera equipped with a device that can convert them into a piece of useful information for the end-user like a website URL or an app.

They were first invented in 1994 by an automotive company in order to track car components, but their ease of use made them popular.

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Noe said that some QR codes can contain some inherent trust that may seem to point you in a direction but have malicious content.

Reports say that hackers have exploited the vulnerability of QR codes to inflict financial injury on users who unsuspectingly tried to use them for legitimate means.

Cybercriminals hit Nigerian companies, as 44% pay ransom to retrieve their key, despite backup reported that 44 per cent of Nigerian companies hit by hackers were forced to pay ransom to get back their encrypted data, the Punch reports.

This is according to Sophos' annual international survey and evaluation of real-world ransomware incidents report titled, ‘The State of Ransomware 2022.’

It noted that the number of Nigerian organisations that were hit with ransomware increased from 22 per cent in 2020 to 71 per cent in 2021 out of which 44 per cent of organisations that had data encrypted in a ransomware attack paid the ransom.


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