QR Code Security: What’re QR Codes and Are They Safe to Use?
While it may look simple, a quick response (QR) code can keep a huge amount of data. But no matter the amount of data it contains, when scanned using a QR code scanner, it should allow a user to access information instantly. And that’s why it’s known as a quick response code.
What’s a QR Code?
A QR code is a barcode type that a digital device can read easily, as it stores information in the form of pixel series in a square-shaped grid. It has many uses, especially in supply chain advertising and marketing campaigns.
A QR code can also be used in healthcare to trace virus exposure and slow down the spread. You can also find them in online shops and stores, restaurants, movie theatres, and even on billboards, to name just some of them.
The information stored in a quick response code can include phone numbers and website URLs or a maximum of 4296 characters. As a result, a QR code can be used to:
- Receive and send payment information.
- Access wireless internet by keeping encryption details like type of encryption, password, and SSID.
- Verify login details and authenticate online accounts
- Link directly to platforms where
- you can download apps
The team behind the creation of QR codes wanted to create stress-free codes to scan so that users didn’t waste any time. Also, they wanted to have a distinctive design for easy identification. This was the main reason why they decided to choose the square shape that’s still used up now.
How to Scan QR Codes
Currently, most smartphones come with built-in scanners in their cameras. A QR code scanner is simply a feature that allows a device to scan QR codes. Some older gadgets may require their users to install certain apps in order to read QR codes. Most of these apps are available for free on Google Play and the Apple App store. Scanning any QR code should be straightforward and within seconds. Here are the steps.
- Open the camera or QR code scanner app on your device
- Focus your camera on the QR code from any angle
- The information contained in the QR code will be displayed on the screen instantly.
Are QR Codes Safe?
A QR code is safe as long as it originates from a legitimate and trusted source. There have been many cases of attackers embedding malicious URLs that contain malware into the quick response code, which could fetch information from a gadget when scanned.
Also, attackers can embed malicious URLs into QR codes that direct users to phishing websites, where unsuspecting individuals could provide their financial and sensitive information.
You should use a QR code scanner you trust to enhance QR code security. Don’t just download any scanner app and install it on your device. Additionally, you should take advantage of top QR code scanner apps that provide alerts and authentication services.