ARTICLE | March 27, 2024

Ensuring the safety of your business from various forms of cyber threats is of utmost importance. One such emerging threat in today’s digital landscape is QR code phishing. This article aims to provide you with a detailed guide on how to protect your business from the potential risks posed by QR code phishing.

Understanding QR Code Phishing

QR code phishing is a sophisticated type of phishing attack where scammers incorporate QR codes to trick individuals into divulging sensitive data or downloading malicious software. These codes can be distributed via emails, text messages, social media platforms, or even in public places. In some instances, individuals might be directly approached to scan the QR codes.

The Threat Perception Gap

Recent research conducted by IRONSCALES and Osterman Research indicates that many organizations have a misguided sense of security concerning their resistance to phishing attacks, including QR code phishing. The study revealed that while over 70% of surveyed IT and security professionals considered their current security measures highly effective against image-based and QR code phishing, a staggering 76% reported falling victim to these types of attacks within the past year. This highlights a significant gap between the perceived and actual effectiveness of current defenses against QR code phishing.

Preventive Measures Against QR Code Phishing

1. Scrutinizing Unsolicited QR Codes

Scammers often distribute their malicious QR codes through unsolicited emails, text messages, or social media posts. If you or your employees come across a QR code from an unrecognized sender or a suspicious message, it is advisable not to scan the code.

2. Verifying Trusted Sources

Even if a QR code is received from a known and trusted company, it’s important to verify its legitimacy directly with the company before scanning.

3. Identifying Phishing Signs

QR codes that induce a sense of urgency, appeal to emotions, or contain grammatical errors should be treated with caution. These are often hallmarks of phishing attacks.

4. Inspecting QR Code URLs

Before scanning a QR code, ensure that the URL matches the website you expect to visit. This can prevent potential redirection to malicious sites.

5. Avoiding Disclosure of Personal Information

Sensitive information like login credentials or credit card numbers should never be provided to a website accessed through a QR code.

Empowering Your Employees

The research also highlighted that organizations with trained employees were better at resisting phishing attacks. It is essential to continuously evolve your phishing simulation programs to mirror the latest phishing techniques. Providing employees with practical and current examples they may encounter if technical measures fail can create a robust line of defense.

In the face of evolving cyber threats like QR code phishing, a combination of technical defenses and informed, vigilant employees can help protect your business. By understanding the threat, acknowledging the perception gap, and implementing robust preventive measures, you can significantly reduce your company’s vulnerability to QR code phishing attacks.

Do you have questions or want to talk?

Call us at (800) 232-9547 or fill out the form below and we’ll contact you to discuss your specific situation.

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About the Author: Lynn Peisch

Lynn Peisch is a manager in Insero & Co.’s Outsource Accounting Services Group with over 25 years of hands-on experience. Meet Lynn >


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