Study: Security risks with QR codes


QR codes have had a tailwind since the beginning of the corona pandemic. They are used for authentication, registration or payment transactions. […]

In a study, security specialist Ivanti examined the handling of QR codes and encountered some discrepancies. The awareness of IT (outstaffing) security risks and the self-assessment of being able to recognize them clearly diverge.

80 Percent of respondents have already scanned a QR code. 17 Percent said they had used a QR code on the day of the survey – an increase from six percent in the last survey in September 2020. Trust in QR codes has also increased. 40 Percent of respondents currently have no concerns about using these codes.

The contact restrictions are reflected in the type of use: for example, 32 percent scanned a QR code in a restaurant, bar or café, and 22 percent used it in retail. And 62 percent believe that QR codes make life easier in an everyday life marked by contact restrictions.

But as more and more people use QR codes for more and more actions, the security risks also increase. For example, QR codes can make a call with the victim’s terminal device, make a payment or disclose the user’s location. However, users are often not aware of these risks – or rather, they overestimate their knowledge in this area: 51 percent of the German respondents stated that they can recognize a malicious QR code. At the same time, however, 36 percent of German respondents also say that they have already scanned a QR code that triggered an unexpected action or that led them to a suspicious website.

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