Information Technology and Services

QR Codes

What are they?

Quick Response codes (or QR codes) is a type of matrix code easily readable by machines. Originally designed for the automotive industry it has gained popularity due to fast readability and greater storage capacity compared to other bar code standards (like UPC etc.). It typically contains of black modules in square grid on a white background, which can be read by an imaging device (such as a camera) and processed using simple decoders.

How are they used?

One of the most popular implementation of QR codes is consumer advertising as a user can just scan the code with their phone and it will take them to the website. QR codes provide quick and effortless way to direct a consumer to the brands website and therefore the consumer will be more inclined to purchase something or at least see the sale. QR codes can be used with Android, Blackberry and Apple iOS devices.

Dangers of QR Code.

There are some risks to QR codes that can endanger the user’s contents of their phone and put their privacy at risk. The practice of cybercriminals manipulating QR codes for fraudulent use is known as “attagging”, a combination of “attack tagging”.

Malicious QR codes are easily created and the risks of scanning them for a user include linking to a malicious website, enabling GPS/camera/microphone, analysis of files/contacts/passwords, and sending email/text messages without consent.

It is best to be very cautious when scanning QR codes as there are many serious risks involved with them, many times it is just best to type the URL into your browser as it is much safer.

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Last Updated: 10/28/13

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