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QR codes - a new channel for ID thieves?

Aug 11, 2013 Dave King

QR codes - a new channel for ID thieves?

New electronic payment technologies have streamlined how consumers can make purchases. At the same time, however, it has also made shoppers more vulnerable to identity theft.

Devices such as smartphones and tablets have opened a new world for hackers, with applications such as quick response (QR) codes doing more than just providing extra information or paying for goods or services. In a recent article for Main Street, IBM security strategist Lynn Price warned that just taking a picture of the code, as users are instructed to do, can compromise the device.

"People need to realize that QR codes are links that lead you back to something unknown," Price explained to the news source . "You need to be rather suspicious of it, even thought it's a cool technology."

Gregg Smith, CEO of KoolSpan, added that by taking a photo of the codes, users may find their devices infected with malware, which is an increasingly serious threat for mobile phone owners. In the first half of 2013, incidence of malware in such devices jumped by 30 percent, a study from Fortinet reported.