QR codes were invented nearly three decades ago. But it was in the last five years, especially last year during the Covid19 Pandemic, the western world adopted them at large. Governments, businesses, and other organizations have indeed turned to technology as a manner of overall tracking social movements. But this dynamic technology comes with its share of risks. Since the technology is getting progressive, the hackers and attackers are getting advanced too. Security experts take one step, and then hackers and attackers try to crack them. Another inventive example of it is QR codes phishing.
Security teams deploy link analysis tools to guard against phishing and malicious links. Now, such things work when they can read the URL. But, if the URL itself is embedded as a QR Code, suddenly any protection turns out to be ineffective unless the QR code is converted to a link, and then that link gets analyzed.
Why is QR Phishing a Threat?
QR codes are no longer a rare technology anymore. You can easily find QR codes at gas stations, at shops, on online platforms, and everywhere around you. It is so because it is a convenient way to take users to application downloads or act from any physical world. During pandemic COVID19, many restaurants and cafes have served menus through QR codes. Indeed, QR codes are pretty omnipresent in the present time.
Today, QR phishing attacks are rising in popularity precisely because they need too little effort to succeed. And with QR codes getting used everywhere for contactless communication, hackers have many chances to paste their codes over current ones without anyone knowing.
Now, if you are thinking about how QR Phishing takes place, the answer is that the general algorithm includes a phishing website that looks just like the real one with an alike-looking official sign-in form. Moreover, though available QR codes are simply images and no one can hack them because they are static, these QR codes can easily get replaced.
Not just email, but hackers can use a phishing QR code on Social Media, messaging applications, and different platforms and places. Moreover, attackers are replacing actual QR codes with forged QR codes. One can replace the general QR codes used for payments in the physical world with fake QR codes. Hence, hackers are snatching payments to their accounts – instead of the real-time merchant. Therefore, more and more users can fall for such types of QR code phishing attacks that favor attackers.
QR phishing can also be a powerful way for cyberattacks to access your organization’s confidential data. For example, your staff member could scan a code that heads to a forged bank login page. Once he enters his login credentials, an attacker can easily use software that crawls the internet for other websites with that team member’s username. Once matches are found, the software puts the phished login credentials to sign in to the account. If your team member uses the same sign-in credentials across different accounts, including ones related to the office, the hacker can get access to your organization’s infrastructure.
How is Blockchain-Based Secure QR Code Helpful?
Unlike general QR codes, blockchain-based secure QR codes are safe. In a blockchain-based QR code, you can put a hash value embedded in the shape of a secure QR code. No matter the secure QR code is on the physical certificate, an online application, banking platform, or anywhere else, nobody can change it or touch it.
Once anyone uses the QR reader or their phone QR app for code reading, the system would first look at the hash value the originator put into the QR code. Then the system compares it with the hash value on the blockchain. As a result, the QR reader takes the user to the original URL or shows the details linked to the hash value in the original QR code. Hence, this process of hash value ensures the authenticity of the code, and the user cannot get hacked or attacked.
The point is if any hacker has even tried to make any change to the QR data or content, the unique hash value in the QR code is no longer going to match with the one generated initially. Hence, the QR code would be invalid. This way, you can ensure that your QR codes are always protected, and your users do not become a victim of QR phishing.
The Bottom Line
The attackers are constantly using advanced phishing methods like QR codes to trick users into sharing their sensitive information. To ensure that your codes stay safe, use secure blockchain-based QR codes. Let us discuss it all at Proofeasy and find out how to introduce blockchain-based specific codes right away.