November 14, 2011

Growing popularity of QR codes attracts digital scammers

Growing popularity of QR codes attracts digital scammers

Denver Post, By: Andy Vuong

Millions of people are scanning tiny square images with their smartphone cameras to get a coupon, a link to a company's website or other digital content.

Not surprisingly, cybercriminals are focusing on the fast-growing marketing technology generically referred to as QR, or quick response, codes.

In September, software researchers at Kaspersky Lab​ uncovered for the first time a malicious QR code.

Scanning the fraudulent image would install an application on a phone that, when opened, would send text messages to a number that charges an account $6 per text.

The code was uncovered on a Russian website. Experts say this new digital scam will probably reach the U.S., if it hasn't already.

"We're not seeing it all over the place yet, but we expect to," said Tim Armstrong, a malware researcher for Kaspersky Lab in Boston. "QR codes have been big around the rest of the world for a long time, but in the U.S., they're really just starting to take a big hold."


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