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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : September 02, 2021

How SMBs can prevent QR code abuse

QR codes are not new in the mobile space, but many businesses and consumers quickly latched on to the ability to quickly navigate to a specific portal or page during the pandemic. Added to that are the number of restaurants utilizing QR codes as part of their loyalty program and it was only a matter of time until bad actors began trying to fraudulently use QR codes. We asked a digital expert how SMBs can prevent QR code fraud.

by Kristina Knight

"While a quick scan of an image from our phone or mobile device that quickly provides more information is a great time saver, especially as compared to typing a long URL or web site name, there are risks. It is possible for bad actors to install malware or a virus via a Quick Response (QR) code," said Dave Russell, VP of Enterprise Strategy, Veeam. "What makes this potential cyberthreat so challenging are both social and technical. Socially, the ubiquity of QR codes and how in a short matter of time using these codes have become commonplace, means that most of us would not pause to consider any potential for harm. Technically, the threat is concerning because there is no way to know in advance the content of a QR; the action or activity is not known until the AR code is scanned, which could be too late."

Dave says there are three ways to protect either the customer or the business from QR code fraud.

First, choose a secure QR scanning app - the kind that shows relevant information before taking any action based. Specifically for businesses, he suggests using multi-factor authentication tools to stop potentially dangerous actions from the codes.

Second, do your due diligence by researching how QR codes work, what types of information is gathered, and how that information is then used.

"All cyber threats (phishing scams, ransomware, QR code malware) can be limited with better awareness and a reminder of best practices for employees. At Veeam, the team lead of our cyber response support team says that his #1 ransomware remediation advice is to "scare all employees so that they don't do the wrong things," said Russell.

Third, prepare for the worst - including getting hacked.

"Develop a comprehensive cyber recovery plan now. Don't assume that everything will go well. Have a plan, which includes having backups, and keep that plan up to date," said Russell. And, for consumers, don't click strange links. "As with phishing schemes, the top recommendation is to not click on something that you do not recognize or did not initiate, such as a code that comes to you via e-mail."

Tags: mobile commerce trends, mobile ecommerce, mobile marketing, QR code abuse, QR code tips, Veeam

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