What is a QR code and is it secure?

More recently, you’ve probably run into one of these in restaurants, commercials, flyers – and even on airline boarding passes. But do you know what this barcode is?

ADKBank QRCode

What is a QR code?

A QR (quick response) code are matrix-style barcodes that are capable for storing data. It is a communication tool that uses data from printed materials to retrieve information digitally. When a QR code is scanned using either a trusted QR reader app or your smartphone’s camera, you can access the information instantly.

QR codes are often used in marketing and advertising campaigns, but more recently can be found in restaurants and more. The data stored in a QR code includes website URLs, phone numbers, or up to 4,000 characters of text. They can even link directly to download an app.

Unlike standard barcodes that are read top to bottom and only store a small amount of data, QR codes can be read in two directions – top to bottom and right to left, allowing more room for information.

Are QR codes safe?

Although the codes can’t be hacked, the destinations of the QR codes are at risk. Hackers can create malicious codes to send users to fake websites to gather personal information or track their location through their phone. Hackers can compromise QR codes by pasting over legitimate QR codes with stickers containing a hostile code, creating a phishing scenario for the user.

Be sure to only scan codes from trusted senders. Because QR codes are only machine readable, users are unable to identify if the code is compromised without scanning it. If a code takes you to a landing page, review the URL for authenticity. For extra security, disable the “open website automatically” feature on your phone. This allows you to review the URL before opening the site.

Do they collect my personal information?

The software used to create QR codes doesn’t collect personal information, but the data that does get collected and is only visible to the code creator includes location, device’s operating system used, time of scan, and number of times scanned.

According to a Forbes article about QR codes for business, businesses that collect, maintain, or sell personal information must notify the consumer, disclosing the information and its use through the 2019 Consumer Privacy Protection Act. Information through QR codes has the same protection.

The information is this article was obtained from various sources not associated with Adirondack Bank. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. Adirondack Bank is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the information provided or the content of any third-party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. Adirondack Bank makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

Return to All News Return To All News