QR code-based phishing attacks are increasing. In this new hacking scam, victims receive a phishing email with a QR code that leads to a malicious link when scanned. This usually results in stolen credentials and account takeovers. The public, security experts, and companies are all warning about the dangers of this scam. However, despite the hype, using QR codes in everyday life isn’t necessarily a major threat.
Phishing attacks using QR codes are just another way for scammers to target victims. QR codes present a security gap by distracting victims and making it more difficult to recognize phishing attempts. Scanning a QR code on a mobile device also increases the likelihood of falling for a phishing link. However, the smaller scale of QR-based attacks makes them less efficient for scammers to set up.
People are more likely to trust and scan unknown QR codes, making them susceptible to exploitation by hackers. However, the use of QR codes in phishing attacks is fairly straightforward, and their application in other malicious activities is uncommon. While it’s important to remain vigilant against phishing attacks, there’s no need to avoid using QR codes in everyday situations, as they are still not widely used as a hacking tactic.
Despite the potential risks, scanning QR codes in real-world interactions like menus, event exhibits, and contactless check-ins is generally safe. However, caution should be exercised when scanning QR codes from unfamiliar sources. Ultimately, while “quishing” poses legitimate risks, avoiding QR codes altogether may be an overreaction.