Tag: qr code safety

QR code ads conflict with gas station warning signage

QR Code gas station confusionSmartphone friendly barcodes are being used in cell phone unfriendly locations.

It is becoming increasingly common to see a QR code posted in places such as in magazine print ads, on billboards, and on product packaging, but their latest addition to gas pumps is causing some consumers a great deal of confusion.

These quick response barcodes offer everything from discounts to free products when scanned.

However, the problem that consumers are having with these tempting opportunities is that they are located in areas that also display warnings that it is not safe to use cell phones and other electronic devices. The issue has been growing throughout the United States, appearing most recently in Minnesota.

The QR code ads promote opportunities for discounts but are posted in areas where cell phone use is banned.

Consumers are finding themselves quite confused by the conflicting information, as the signage both encourages them to scan a QR code and tells them not to use the device as it risks sparking a fire in a very dangerous location.

According to Jerry Rosendahl, State Fire Marshal in Minnesota, there is no real link known to exist between the use of a cell phone and the ignition of a fire at a gas station. He explained that there has never been any proof that the devices pose any risk of this nature. He stated that the concept that there was a problem seemed to have arisen when “Somebody had service station video of a person talking on their phone, getting out of their car and then they had a flash fire so they naturally jumped to the assumption that it was cell phones.”

The Fire Marshal’s office does not issue the signs that are posted at gas stations as they do not believe that the use of mobile phones causes the danger that the signage suggests. This means that it is the gas stations, themselves, that are choosing to post both signs that feature a QR code and those that warn consumers not to use their smartphones because it could cause a fire. According to Rosendahl, the largest risk of using the device near the pumps is that they cause consumers not to pay attention while working with gasoline, a hazardous material.

QR codes can be harmful when precautions aren’t taken

qr codes cautionMobile marketers love these barcodes , but as consumers embrace them, unscrupulous efforts grow.

It’s difficult to open a magazine or a flyer, these days, without seeing QR codes in all of the adds, but just as their popularity grows, so does their attractiveness to unethical individuals who would take advantage of this opportunity to cause harm.

These little black and white codes may look simple enough, but they may now pose an underlying threat.

It took quite a while for consumers to start to feel the enthusiasm for QR codes that mobile marketers have felt from the start. This has meant that individuals who would seek to use them for harmful purposes have left them alone for quite some time. But as the scanning trend continues to grow, so have the hazards associated with the activity.

Malicious QR codes have started to pop up here and there now that the technology has become commonplace.

Though it is still rare for malicious QR codes to appear, they have started showing up on occasion, and their impact can be quite damaging. This is because there are far more mobile device users that have barcode scanners than there are those who have protection against the type of attack that a tainted scan could present.

QR codes are meant to make it easy to redirect a device user to an app or a website to provide information, generate a download, view a video, or even to help buy a product or make a charitable donation. However, when a permissive reader app has been used, even a seemingly harmless scan could place the user’s privacy at risk.

The most common strategy that is used in order to encourage malicious barcode scans is simply to place a sticker with the harmful code overtop of the legitimate square. Therefore, one of the best efforts that a device user can make to protect his or her security is simply to double check that the QR codes they scan are printed directly onto materials from companies that they trust, and aren’t printed onto a sticker. Downloading a scanner app with built in protection is also a highly recommended activity.