The Federal Bureau of Investigation made an announcement that cybercriminals are using tampered QR codes to redirect victims to malicious sites and gain login and financial information.
QR codes were invented in 1996 by Denso Wave, a Japanese company. Since the boom of digital payments, QR codes have been playing a major role for businesses to provide quick access to payments, giving quick access to a website and many others.
Threat actors are tampering with both digital and physical QR codes, replacing them with a malicious one. Once a victim scans these QR codes, they are redirected to a malicious web page that seems legitimate. After entering their credentials, cybercriminals gain the ability to steal funds. Tampered QR’s also provide links to malicious links that download malware to a device. After gaining access, they can potentially exploit the victim through either personal or financial gain.
Business payment QR’s are also being tampered with, redirecting the payments to a malicious bank account. This creates a huge financial loss for businesses.
FBI also advised being cautious when entering financial login information through QR links. Also, recovery of lost funds is not guaranteed.
How to Protect Yourself
- Check the website URL and make sure it is not malicious. Malicious links may look similar to legitimate ones with certain mistakes or misplaced letters.
- On physical scanning of the code, make sure it is not malicious or a sticker on top of the original QR. Businesses need to ensure that the payments are received correctly from the QR.
- In case you receive any email regarding failure of payments and they ask you to make the payment again with the QR they have provided, call the company and verify. Do not use the mobile number given in the email. Search for legitimate ones and verify.
- Do not download a QR scanner app which increases the risk of downloading malware. Most phones have built-in QR code scanners.
- If you receive a QR code from a friend, call them and verify whether it is from them.