QR codes are a security nightmare, according to FTC


As QR codes become more ubiquitous in our everyday lives, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is warning users about their potential cybersecurity dangers.

In a blog post last Wednesday, the FTC issued an alert on QR codes, warning that malicious actors can use them to hide harmful links that can steal your data. The post warns of several ways that people can be targeted, including parking meters, where scammers have, in some instances, covered the meter’s QR code with their own.

Other methods the FTC pointed out include the usual email phishing scams of overexaggerated, urgent requests for users to change their passwords for an account. Some have masqueraded as Amazon, claiming to have issues with package delivery. The agency also added that QR codes can be used to quietly download malware onto users’ phones.

How to protect yourself

Avoid downloading QR scanners from the app store. Apple and most Android devices have built-in QR scanners in the camera.

In addition, the FTC said that users should be cautious about scanning QR codes from unexpected places. Plus, be wary of emails that create a sense of urgency. Finally, as a precaution, the FTC recommends using strong online passwords and two-factor authentification on all devices and accounts.

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