QR Code-Based Phishing: How SMBs Can Safeguard Against the Threat

QR Code-Based Phishing: How SMBs Can Safeguard Against the Threat


Phishing attacks continue to adapt and find new avenues to exploit. The recent rise in QR code phishing attack brings up the need for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to understand the dangers posed by this tactic.

Understanding QR Code-Based Phishing:

QR code-based phishing is a deceptive technique where cybercriminals leverage QR codes to lead unsuspecting individuals to malicious websites or to initiate a download of malicious content. These QR codes can be disguised as legitimate links, promotions, or offers, tricking victims into taking actions that compromise their security.

How Does QR Code-Based Phishing Work?

  1. Delivery: Cybercriminals distribute QR codes through emails, social media, or even physical prints, enticing users to scan them.
  2. Deception: The QR codes often appear harmless and relevant, offering discounts, contest entries, or important information to lure victims.
  3. Compromise: When scanned, the QR code redirects users to a phishing site, where sensitive information is stolen or malware is downloaded onto their devices.
  4. Consequences: Once compromised, cybercriminals can gain unauthorized access to personal data, login credentials, or even infiltrate business networks.

Protecting Your SMB Against QR Code-Based Phishing:

  1. Employee Training: Educate your employees about the risks associated with QR codes and how to identify suspicious ones. Implementing regular security awareness training can make your workforce better equipped to deal with such threats.
  2. Verify the Source: Before scanning any QR code, ensure its legitimacy by verifying the source. Avoid scanning QR codes from unknown or unsolicited sources.
  3. Use QR Code Scanners: Use reliable QR code scanning apps that provide security features, such as website reputation checking and link previews.
  4. Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Implement 2FA for business accounts to add an extra layer of security, even if login credentials are compromised.
  5. URL Preview Tools: Utilize online tools that offer previews of the website's content before visiting it. This helps identify potential phishing sites.
  6. Mobile Security: Invest in robust mobile security to ensure that mobile devices up-to-date with the latest security patches. Use of enterprise-grade mobile security can better secure your business by detecting and preventing threats in real time.
  7. Policy Enforcement: Establish and enforce strict policies regarding the use of personal devices for work-related activities.


QR code-based and other forms of phishing represents a growing concern for SMBs aiming to safeguard their digital assets. By staying informed about this threat and adopting proactive measures, SMBs can create a resilient defense against phishing attacks. Employee education, investing in enterprise grade security solutions, and following best practices are essential components in the fight against phishing, ensuring the security of both personal and business information in an interconnected digital landscape.