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Malicious QR codes - The new tool for scammers to breach your mobile security

Posted 1/7/2012 5:04 PM
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Advanced member

Hello all,

Smartphones are new, cool and everyone wants one or already switched to one. However, these are more like a computer than a phone and a lot of us use it for social media, fun, games and financials, not just making calls.

I always brag about being a very organized person, so I have an app that helps me track my expenses and daily events. Also, I have installed and I am using a bar code scanner, to keep track of prices and offers.
However, this brings me to writing this small warning about Malicious QR codes.

A Quick Response (QR) code is a type of matrix barcode that can store alphanumeric characters, in the form of text or URLs. All you need to “vizualize” such a code is a smartphone with a camera and a QR reader application to scan it – the code can direct you to websites or online videos, send text messages and e-mails, or launch apps.

An example:
User image

The downside is that you don’t really know the content of a QR code until you scan it.

A popular attack via QR code took place in Russia this fall, and involved a Trojan disguised as a mobile app called Jimm. Once installed, “Jimm” started to send a series of expensive text messages ($6 each), racking up unwanted charges.

This is a free forum and I usually refrain from advertising BullGuard, although it's hard not to, but I do use BullGuard Mobile Security on my smartphone and I highly recommend it to anyone with a compatible operating system, especially using Android.

Bottom line is, unfortunately, scammers and hackers are always inventive and up to date with the latest trends. Just as you would on your computer, be careful not to visit random links, just because the icon of the application is a cute mascot, and be extra careful when you scan barcodes and QR codes.

A complete article on this topic can be found here: http://www.bullguard.com/bullguard-security-center/security-articles/malicious-qr-codes.aspx
Andreea-Luciana Ostache
Support Team Leader

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