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Post: tech | Apr 18, 2024

‘Quishing’: The silent cyber threat lurking behind QR Codes

Since the pandemic hit, we've all noticed a big spike in how often we see QR codes in use, from menus at restaurants to quick payment options. Despite their widespread use today, QR codes were first used in the 1990s to help keep track of parts in car factories. However, as they've become increasingly popular for the everyday consumer, they're also turning into a new tool for hackers to trick people. QR phishing or ‘quishing’, as it’s coined, saw a staggering 51% increase in attacks last year alone.

What is QR Phishing or Quishing?

Imagine getting an email that looks legit, maybe from a service you use, and it has a QR code asking you to scan for a quick update or to verify your account. You scan it because it's easy and seems safe, right? But here's the catch - that QR code can lead you straight to a fake website that's set up to steal your personal information or even download malware. Not all email security solutions will decode and check the URL in the QR code, making them unable to detect the URL as malicious.

Hackers know people trust QR codes because they're used everywhere now. And since scanning a QR code feels like a direct action, people don't always stop to think it could be risky, unlike clicking on a suspicious link in an email. This whole situation is a bit of a wake-up call that just because something is convenient doesn't mean it's always safe.

How can this affect my business? 

Quishing can pose a significant threat to your business and can potentially lead to identity theft, reputation damage, and financial losses. When a malicious actor exploits a QR code, they can gain access to sensitive information, jeopardizing data and tarnishing the reputation of your business. Additionally, financial losses can be substantial, including theft and expenses related to remediation efforts and legal liabilities. Implementing robust cybersecurity measures is crucial to mitigate these risks effectively.

How can I protect my business and customers? 

Protecting against QR phishing is crucial because it safeguards personal and financial information from cybercriminals who exploit QR codes. To protect yourself, be cautious with QR codes from unknown sources, use a secure QR scanner that can check the safety of links, preview URLs before visiting them, and verify the authenticity of the website or payment portal you're directed to.

Halon Protect and its Connect component seamlessly integrate a phishing filter from Sophos, offering a straightforward way to block malicious QR codes and keep your digital interactions secure. With this new feature, QR codes are decoded and checked ensuring they're safe, therefore protecting yourself and your organisation from potential cyber threats.

Halon Protect assists businesses in securing their email by reducing operational costs and mitigating risks like spam and phishing. We emphasize efficiency and cost-effectiveness, leveraging modern cloud technologies and a unified email solution to optimize performance and enhance security measures. This approach aims to improve customer satisfaction and support business growth by ensuring reliable and secure email services.

The simplicity and widespread trust in QR codes are what make Quishing a cybersecurity threat that is here to stay. As technology advances and the methods of malicious actors evolve, safeguarding your business becomes paramount. Ensure your business is equipped with cutting-edge protection. Discover how Halon Protect can fortify your defenses today. Click here to learn more and protect your business today.