Quishing: A Rising Threat and Strategies for Prevention

28 September 2023
Quishing: A Rising Threat and Strategies for Prevention

In the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats, a relatively new term, “quishing,” has emerged. Quishing, a portmanteau of “Quick Response” and “phishing,” refers to fraudulent activities where attackers use QR codes to deceive users into revealing sensitive information. As QR codes become ubiquitous for their convenience in accessing services, quishing has become a rising concern for individuals and businesses alike.

QR code exampleQuishing operates on the principle of trust. Users, accustomed to scanning QR codes for legitimate transactions, may inadvertently scan malicious codes. These deceptive QR codes redirect users to fraudulent websites, prompting them to enter personal information, login credentials, or financial details, which are then harvested by cybercriminals. In addition, scanning such QR codes can trigger your device to automatically act, like downloading an app or file from a fake website. Such actions can also introduce malware into your device without you knowing.

QR code delivery methods have a much better chance of reaching an inbox as the phishing link is hiding inside the QR image, while the QR image is embedded inside a PNG image or PDF attachment.

Preventing quishing necessitates a multi-faceted approach:

  1. Educate and Inform:

Awareness is the first line of defence. Educate users on the risks associated with QR codes and encourage them to verify the source before scanning. Training on identifying malicious websites can also help in recognizing and avoiding quishing attempts.

  1. Use QR Code Scanners with Security Features:

Opt for QR code scanners that offer security features, such as verifying the legitimacy of the website to which the QR code directs. These applications can provide an additional layer of protection by alerting users to potential threats.

  1. Verify the Source:

Before scanning a QR code, especially in public places or from untrusted sources, verify its legitimacy. If the code is provided in a physical form, cross-check with official online platforms or customer service to ensure its authenticity.

  1. Update and Secure Devices:

Regularly updating devices and applications, along with employing robust security measures such as firewalls and antivirus software, can help in safeguarding against various forms of cyber threats, including quishing.

  1. Be Sceptical of Inputting Information:

Exercise caution when prompted to enter sensitive information following a QR code scan. Legitimate businesses rarely request sensitive information through this medium.

  1. Report Suspicious Activity:

Reporting any suspicious QR codes or websites to relevant authorities can help in curbing the spread of quishing and protecting others from falling victim.

In conclusion, quishing is a growing threat in our increasingly digital world. The average month-to-month growth is estimated to be 270% according to Cofense. However, through awareness, vigilance, and the adoption of security measures, users can protect themselves and mitigate the risks associated with this deceptive practice. Speak to our cybersecurity experts at Archway Securities to find out how best to protect yourself and your digital assets.

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