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Thursday, October 27, 2011

QR Codes from untrusted companies carry malware risk

QR codes are becoming the hot new item among major brands and retailers to drive consumers to websites, promotions, sweepstakes, and more. What's easier for consumers than to scan a code with a smartphone app and instantly go to a mobile website to learn more, compare products, or complete an action in order for you to capture critical customer data? A simple click is all it takes to access this information, quickly and conveniently.

Unfortunately, some consumers have found that snapping images of QR codes has also led to infection of their phones by malware. According to one anti-virus software company, a smartphone was infected with a code that sent a number of expensive text messages.

Malware is not the only risk associated with QR codes. They have been linked to phishing scams, too. If a smartphone user is asked to provide a user name and password for his or her e-mail account or a social networking site, this is a red flag that something may not be right.

Businesses and advertisers that use QR codes should be aware of these scams and create measures that increase consumer trust, such as only working with reputable QR code companies and listing traditional contact information near the QR code for the customer, in case they want to confirm.


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