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How to Protect Your Small Business Against QR Code Phishing

How to Protect Your Small Business Against QR Code Phishing

In today’s digital age, QR codes have become a common tool for businesses, from supply chain management to invoicing and marketing. Yet, their widespread use has inadvertently opened the door for cybercriminals to exploit this technology, posing a significant business risk. In this article, we’ll examine QR code phishing, explain what it entails, why it’s a real danger to small businesses, and offer some actionable advice to help fortify your organisation against this evolving threat.

Understanding QR Code Phishing

QR code phishing, also referred to as QRishing, is a cunning form of cyber-attack that deceives individuals into scanning malicious QR codes. These seemingly innocuous codes can lead to phishing websites designed to steal sensitive data or inject malware into the victim’s device.

Why Small Businesses Should Be Vigilant

For small businesses, cybersecurity is no longer just an IT concern but a critical aspect of overall business strategy. The consequences of a successful QRishing attack can be severe, including data breaches, financial losses, and substantial damage to a business’s reputation. With the increase of remote work and the extensive use of mobile devices, the risk of falling victim to these cyber-crimes has escalated significantly.

How QRishing Works

Imagine this scenario: one of your employees receives an email that appears to come from your IT department or a service provider. The email message contains a QR code, supposedly for authentication purposes. When scanned, the code redirects the employee to a login page that perfectly mimics your company’s or service provider’s portal. Unwittingly, they enter their credentials, unknowingly handing them over to cybercriminals.

Common QRishing Scams

There are many different types of QRishing attack, and cybercriminals are always finding new ways to target unwary businesses and individuals. The following are just a few of the most common forms of QR code phishing:

  1. Fake Coupons: Cybercriminals create QR codes that resemble coupons or discounts for popular products or services. However, these codes lead to phishing sites that request credit card details or other sensitive information.
  2. Fake Wi-Fi Networks: Malicious QR codes appear to offer free Wi-Fi connections but instead connect your device to a rogue network that can monitor online activities, steal passwords, or introduce malware.
  3. Fake Surveys: Some scammers create QR codes that masquerade as surveys or feedback forms. These codes sneakily gather personal information, including names, emails, phone numbers, and locations, often for resale on the dark web or identity theft.
  4. Fake Invoices: Cybercriminals design QR codes resembling invoices or payment requests, directing users to unauthorised transactions or fraudulent payment platforms that steal financial information.
  5. Fake Parking Meter Codes: QR codes placed on parking meters promise a convenient payment method. However, they lead users to fraudulent websites that collect credit card information.


How to Protect Your Business from QR Code Scams

Here are actionable measures your business can take to defend against QRishing attacks:

  • Employee Education: Raise awareness within your organisation. Conduct regular training sessions on cybersecurity threats, including QRishing, and emphasise the importance of verifying the source of QR codes before scanning.
  • Secure QR Codes: Consider using dynamic QR codes with short URLs, allowing users to preview the destination before scanning.
  • Implement Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Enhance security by requiring users to verify their identity using a second method alongside their password.
  • Regular System Updates: Ensure all systems and applications are kept up to date, as cybercriminals often exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software.
  • Invest in Cybersecurity Tools: Deploy security software capable of detecting phishing attempts and malicious websites.

Additional Tips:

  • Only scan QR codes from trusted sources, such as a company’s official website or verified social media channels. If in doubt, always visit the company’s website rather than scan a suspicious QR code.
  • Exercise caution with QR codes promising discounts or freebies, as they are often used as lures for malicious codes.
  • If possible, use a QR code scanner app that can detect malicious codes.
  • Never input personal information, such as passwords or credit card numbers, after scanning a QR code.

QRishing is a genuine threat to businesses of all sizes. By following the advice outlined above, businesses can bolster their defences against these attacks. Nonetheless, it’s important to remember that cybersecurity is a constantly evolving field. Maintaining a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy and routinely reviewing and updating it is crucial to safeguard your business against this and other cyber threats. If you would like to know more about cybersecurity safeguards, contact Bluegrass today.



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