Protect yourself from Qshing: Scan QR Codes Safely!


    Covid-19 made many of us think about the society and the day-to-day interaction differently. For example, the practice of social distancing, which encourage everyone to keep a fair amount of distance, or go contactless, due to health concerns and the initial finding that the virus may be transmitted thru touch and that it stays on a surface for several days. Therefore, the use of Quick Response or QR code have grown in popularity to minimize close contact. We’ve seen this being adapted to contact tracing apps and merchants as payment method, to name a few.

    QR code makes it easier to conduct transactions with your mobile devices using its camera or a QR Scanner app, which increases our reliance on this two-dimensional barcode. QR code can contain more information, and it can link you to a contact tracing site, pay a merchant, or download an app. The more we use QR codes in our daily lives, the more interesting this is for cybercriminals.

    In the first quarter of this year, Trend Micro warned that QR code abuse or QShing may pose a risk to your mobile devices today, and it could be just another way for internet perpetrators to steal your personal information. Since QR codes are everywhere nowadays, users tend to scan them without asking questions. Because of that, scammers may design a QR code to redirect you to a malicious site instead of a trusted one. You may be asked to login with your banking credentials and provide other payment information, which cybercriminals will use for their personal gain.

    Scanning a QR code also poses a threat to installing an app with embedded malware, which compromises the device and makes it vulnerable to other types of fraudulent activities.

    Here are some tips to protect yourself from QShing:

    • Do not scan a QR code unless you trust its source
    • Check the QR code sticker to ensure it’s not pasted over an original one
    • Only QR code payment if you are directly transacting with trusted merchants or person you know

    For iOS: It is vital to install Trend Micro Mobile Security to keep your mobile devices safe. In addition to malware scanning, Mobile Security is equipped with a secure QR Code scanner to test-scan QR codes and detect if it contains a link to a dangerous website.

    For Android: Trend Micro QR Scanner is available for free on the Google Play store.

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