The Rise of 'Quishing': Protecting You and Your Business from QR Code Phishing Attacks
ATTENTION: Consumers, Business Owners, and Business Leadership!
Watch Out for ‘Quishing’: The Latest Digital Sabotage!
Ah, the digital age. Where not only our food gets delivered faster, but even the con artists are finding quicker ways to fleece us. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to the newest member of the cyber threat family: ‘Quishing’. Yes, I said Quishing. No, I didn’t have a lisp. And if you’re scratching your head right now, you’re not alone. Let’s unravel this mysterious term together.
First, a flashback. Remember when QR codes were just those fun little squares that you’d scan for a discount? Innocent times! Now, thanks to our imaginative ‘friends’ in the criminal underworld, QR codes have a dark side. According to a recent article by Chrissy Sandella, the New Jersey Cybersecurity & Communications Integration Cell (NJCCIC) has warned us about ‘Quishing’ – a fusion of QR code and phishing. In simple words, it’s a ploy where scammers fool you into scanning fake QR codes. The reward? Access to your personal and financial information. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?
Intriguingly, these scams have shown significant creativity, like emails pretending to be from IT departments, urging users to scan a QR code for software updates or 2FA maintenance. Sneaky, right? And if you think that’s smart, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) pulled the curtain back on another scam where fake QR code stickers are stuck over real ones to deceive drivers into paying for parking on fraudulent sites. Makes one think, “Where do they get these ideas?”
Now, you might be thinking, “What’s the worst that could happen with a simple scan?” Let’s break it down:
Hello, Phishing Website!: You could be smoothly directed to a website that looks real but has one goal: steal your data. Ever wanted to donate your credit card details to a cyber-thief? No? Then beware!
Malware Party: QR codes can invite unwanted guests onto your device, like malware, ransomware, and the like. Some can even track you or hold your device hostage. I bet that’s not the kind of surprise you were hoping for.
The Ghost Emailer: Scan a dodgy QR code, and it might just draft and send emails from your account. I mean, who wouldn’t want to accidentally email their boss about a fake lottery win?
And because I care about my fellow netizens, here’s a mini-guide on how not to fall for these scams:
URL Sneak Peek: Before mindlessly tapping on a link, check the URL. If it looks gibberish or suspiciously short, hold your horses!
Is it Secure?: The internet is filled with unsavory places. Stick to the ‘secure’ neighborhoods. Look for ‘HTTPS’ and a padlock icon next to the URL.
Devil in the Details: Low-res images? Typos? Inconsistencies? Congrats, you might be on a scammer’s paradise.
Avoid the Unknown: Think twice before scanning random QR codes. As our elders say, “Better safe than sorry.”
If you find yourself thinking, “Oops, I might’ve scanned a fake code,” don’t panic. Disconnect from the internet, update your passwords, inform your bank if you’ve given away financial details, and notify Information Security. And, of course, report it! Here’s a helpful link for more details.
To sum it up: In this age where everything is going digital, and QR codes are becoming as common as the ‘like’ button on social media, remember to stay alert. After all, you wouldn’t want to become a juicy story that I or any other writer pens down, would you? Happy scanning (with caution)!
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. For specific compliance concerns, please consult with a qualified legal professional.
By: Janine Khan
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