The other afternoon, we were out to an early dinner and Ava joyfully pointed out the Heinz ketchup bottle and the QR code on the opposite side. She begged me to scan it at the table. After we scanned the code, we were directed to a page to enter our personal information to find out more about a giveaway. This had me befuddled, I hadn’t thought twice about scanning… what was I thinking? If you scan a QR Code, are you really exposing yourself to malware? When I received a press release from David Maman, Founder and CTO of  GreenSQL,  I knew I had to help spread the word. After a few quick google searches, I knew this was a story that could not be ignored. Maman’s advice rings true in any situation.

Maman thinks so, here is why:

“As QR codes have evolved, they now can offer users – and thieves – unlimited information within seconds of scanning. And we scan them voluntarily.We’ve already been trained to think twice before entering an unknown link we get from a stranger or even a friend, but almost anyone will scan an unknown QR code with a smartphone or a tablet, if the offer it’s embedded in looks tempting enough.”

It’s hard to believe that a simple QR code could put us at such risk, but what if we were professionals in computer forensics and security, surely we’d know the risk, then? Not so. In Maman’s own study in London, he created a QR code at a national security conference and simply said, “Scan to Win an IPAD.” Over 455 scanned the code and browsed the link over 3, separate days. They should have known better, so it begs to ask the question…

“Have we left our defenses down?”

How can you protect yourself with QR Codes? Maman has great advice:

Think before you scan.

·         Does this QR code seem to come from a reliable source?

·         After scanning the QR code and seeing the link, is the link really from whom it claimed to be?

·         Would I click on this link if it came through my email?