Security Risks of QR Codes

QR codes, small boxes of data that require a mobile phone scanner to decode them, hit the marketplace with a ton of hype. The possibilities they represented for small and not-so-small businesses looking to build their brands and appeal to a savvy younger generation of shoppers had retailers around the world salivating while making plans. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long to discover a few very real security risks associated with using QR codes for business. There are risks to your small business as well as to the customers who keep you in business when using QR codes. These are the cream of the proverbial crop.


Compulsory Texting


Some forward thinking evil-doers in the world decided it would be entertaining to create QR codes that immediately sent out text messages to several text messaging services that then charged outrageous fees to the owner of the mobile device. This can be economic disasters for small businesses that have several employees operating on the company plan and autodialing these text message services. Not that it’s unpleasant to be on the consumer side of that particular problem either. Education is the key to avoiding this type of problem within your own small business.


Mobile Payment Problems


Mobile payments can be a huge benefit to customers and have helped many small businesses avoid some of the expenses associated with traditional merchant programs. However, QR codes could potentially collect data from customers. This data includes: credit card numbers, addresses, phone numbers, and other identifying information. This makes them a prime target for identity theft, phishing, and fraud.


This can leave your business in a vulnerable position for litigation if your records are compromised or it’s discovered that the information is coming from your QR codes.


That is why it’s so important to invest in cyber liability insurance to protect your business from the legal fallout of hackers and other web savvy thieves who would prey on your customers.


Data Theft


A more direct problem for small business owners is the theft of the data of their customers—yet another reason to make purchasing cyber liability insurance for your business a priority. The data issues that result from QR codes aren’t strictly limited to theft however. Other major problems you must consider include data insertion, data corruption, and data modification. Any one of these could cause a huge headache for your business in the best case scenario. In the worst case, they could cost your business a lot of money, time, and aggravation to correct.


While the risks associated with QR codes for your business are indeed nothing to sneeze at, there are also effective tools that can help you combat these risks as well. The key is to understand and protect against these risks before problems with QR codes being to arise. Prevention will always be the best cure. Any small business owner should understand this philosophy all too well.