Because criminals QR codes can and do exploit, there are eight things you should be aware of when using them. The US law enforcement agency gives tips for careful handling.
|What is a QR Code?
QR code stands for “Quick Response Code”. In German that would be something like “Quick Response Code”. It is a two-dimensional barcode that can be read from top to bottom as well as from right to left. Therefore, so much information can be stored there that can be read by your smartphone.
QR codes: 8 tips
Not only can QR codes be manipulated to harm you, they can also be created with fraudulent intent. The FBI warns of this. Criminals can steal login credentials or sensitive financial information, for example. It is also theoretically possible that QR codes allow malware to be installed on your phone.
To protect you, the FBI offers the following tips:
- When scanning a QR code, check whether the website actually opens. that you expected. Also make sure that it is authentic: the address must be correct and must not contain any typos or misspelled letters.
- Be particularly critical when a page needs to be accessed via a QR code that involves:
- Entering log-in data
- Entry of personal information or data
- Input concerning monetary and financial transactions
- If there is a QR code in printed form, make sure that the original code has not been pasted over with another one.
- If possible, do not start app downloads and installations via a QR code. Better download the applications from the official stores.
- When a business you recently bought something from emails you saying your payment failed and you can complete it with a QR code? Be careful. It’s best to call and ask personally if the message is real. Attention: Do not take the phone number given in the email, but take the number on the company’s official website.
- Do not install extra scanner apps or you risk malware on your phone. Keep in mind: In most cases, a scanner is already integrated into your smartphone’s camera app.
- If you get a QR code from someone you know, call them on a number you know and ask if the code was actually theirs.
- Don’t make payments on websites accessed via a QR code. It is better to type in the respective well-known Internet address by hand.
If you follow these tips from the FBI, you should be on the safe side.
Scan QR codes with your mobile phone
In most cases, you don’t need an extra application to scan the black and white pixels with your smartphone. With a Samsung cell phone, you can scan the QR code in this way. With Huawei cell phones, for example, it works like this. At Apple, the function is partially hidden in an iPhone app.