How to scan a QR code safely using your smartphone
We recently received this email from a CyberGuy reader asking an important question about QR codes:
Can you recommend a QR code reader that doesn’t require setting up an account? In the App Store, they all have ads and In-App Purchases. Many want you to let them access a lot of non-German information to use it. I’ve had an app for years that didn’t need to bare anyone’s soul and didn’t need access to someone’s phone activities. Suddenly one day I went to use it and things changed. Can you recommend a non-invasive QR code reader app that doesn’t require a lot of hoop jumping and maintains privacy and security?
Loyal Fox viewer for 20 years.
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What is a QR code?
A QR code (short for quick response code) is a two-dimensional barcode that can be read by your smartphone camera. QR codes provide instant access to product information, promotions and other content.
They are also used in ticketing, payment systems and other applications where quick and easy access to information is important. It is important to note that a QR code consists of black squares arranged on a white background. This is not the barcode you see on the back of packages.
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Do I need to use a third-party app to scan a QR code?
Our reader above asked us to recommend QR code reader apps. However, I recommend not using these reader apps. The reason is that All smartphones Are able to scan QR codes within their camera appsSo having an extra app on your phone for this function is unnecessary.
Many of these apps now have annoying ads and pop-ups anyway, which makes them hard to use, as one wrong tap can take you to a whole new page you’ll never visit. wanted to So, stick to your smartphone camera if you’re trying to scan any QR code in the future.
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How do you scan a QR code using your iPhone camera?
- open the Camera app on your iPhone
- the point Camera on the QR code you want to scan
- Wait for the camera to recognize the QR code. This usually happens automatically, although you may need to tap the screen to focus on the code.
- When the code is recognized, a notification will appear at the top of the screen with a preview of the action associated with the website or QR code.
- Tap on the notification To open the website or take action
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How do you scan a QR code using your Android camera?
- Open your The phone’s camera app
- the point Camera on the QR code you want to scan
- Wait for the camera Focus on the QR code
- You should see a notification pop-up asking if you want to open the link associated with the QR code. If not, tap the notification that appears to open the link
Following the instructions above, try scanning this QR code on the phone in the image below, which takes you to my CyberGuy site:
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If the camera app for your iPhone or Android doesn’t recognize the QR code, make sure the code is in focus and well-lit. You may also need to adjust the camera angle or distance. Also, it’s important to note that older iPhones and Androids may not have the capability/software to scan QR codes.
What are the dangers of scanning QR codes?
You should be careful when scanning these codes and ensure that they do not lead you to any suspicious websites or links that may infect your device with malware. Let’s dive in Dos and don’ts With QR codes.
Scanning random QR codes has several dangers. One tactic that has been used is when cybercriminals replace real QR codes with fake codes. If you’ve seen a QR code for the public to scan at a certain touchpoint by those companies, cybercriminals have replaced the original codes with fake codes that will lead scanners to a phishing site or malware attack.
QR codes have proven to be an issue in phishing emails designed to look legitimate. Typically, phishing attacks will ask you to scan a QR code, and as you do, you’ll be asked to provide all kinds of personal information that will then be handed over to a hacker.
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Since QR codes have also grown in popularity as a payment method, scammers have taken full advantage of this by sending your money to the wrong account or sending more than the required amount from your account.
What warning signs should I look for in a QR code?
Before you go ahead and scan a QR code, be sure to do the following first:
- Check the code for suspicious elements. Make sure the code doesn’t have any weird frame text around it. Also, if you’re scanning a business code, make sure the logo looks legitimate and the code design matches the brand’s colors and features. Use your judgment, and if you’re on the fence, don’t scan.
- Verify the web address URL. Whenever you scan a QR code with the camera app on your smartphone, a notification will appear on the screen immediately after the code is captured by the camera’s QR code sensor. Once the URL arrives, you should check and verify it for malicious signs and only click on it if the link is preceded by https:// and is encrypted.
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How to Avoid a QR Code Intruding on Your Privacy
My best advice is, don’t point your phone at just any QR code. Before capturing a QR code with your phone, think about making sure it’s a Reliable source. Never allow uploading of an app that did not come directly from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
If you’re using strong security protection software and apps on all your devices, chances are these types of threats can be stopped before they do damage.
Check out our best security protection software options by visiting CyberGuy.com and research”Best antivirus protection“By clicking on the magnifying glass at the top of my website.
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Have you seen any QR code scams lately? Tell us your experience.
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