QR code as access to the world

2 min
Tags: QR code smartphone Manipulation protection barcode cybercrime scanning personal data important key

QR code as access to the world

In the meantime, the QR code has become an important key of life when it comes to participating in public life.

Who would have thought that having a small square and black and white abstraction with you would eventually become so important? Only with the help of a valid QR code on the smartphone or tablet will access to most public places be granted. What sounded absurd five years ago has become the norm today. The pixel cuboid is a constant companion.

The QR code was developed in Japan in 1994. This means that it is now possible during the pandemic to check in anywhere without contact. Behind the graphical representation are numbers, texts or links - but also personal data. For many, the question now arises to what extent this QR code also interferes with individual freedom when used permanently in public. A lot of information is transmitted with the QR code; therefore data misuse can also occur.

Beware of fraud

In the meantime, it has become common practice to register at the test appointment, vaccination appointment or in a restaurant. This has become normal since the Corona pandemic at the latest. That's why the QR code comes at just the right time. Accordingly, many places offer a QR code scanner for this purpose. Very often, however, scammers are behind it. Thus, such a QR code scanner can also be a source of danger. By the way, many people are not even aware that most smartphones on the market have a scanning function for QR codes anyway. It is integrated directly into the camera.

Definition QR code

The QR code can be compared to a barcode. Instead of black lines, however, black and white squares are used. Behind it is the data that is stored. As for various apps with a scanning function, there may be scams behind them, such as subscription traps or malicious software.

The small square offers an immense attack surface when it comes to cybercrime. Very often, connections are made to other functions on the smartphone, such as installations, local service offers, SMS or emails. The so-called mobile wallet is also frequently affected. On the one hand, it is dangerous in terms of data theft to have your personal QR code scanned with all your personal information; on the other hand it is also risky the other way around.

Early disclosure is the only thing that offers protection. So it should always be shown right away what the source or link is in the background.

Protection against manipulation

As already mentioned, a smartphone already has its own camera with a QR code scanner anyway. Otherwise, it is recommended to get a QR code scanner app exclusively from official and reputable sources. If you want to download such a scanner, you should read the description very carefully.

If it is a suspicious page, you should not scan a QR code. Therefore, it is always important to pay attention to the link, because fake sites may be lurking in the background. Sometimes a sticker with a QR code is even placed on a sign or poster afterwards - there is fraud in the background.