Tag: smartphone 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.

Mobile security risks are commonly overlooked by consumers

Mobile Security risksWhile safety and privacy concerns are still high among smartphone users, they continue to take unnecessary chances.

Smartphones are being used for a growing number of tasks every day, from placing phone calls and sending and receiving texts, to communicating thorough email, making product purchases, banking, and a broad range of other activities that require a high level of mobile security.

Many of these device users are very conscious of risks, and yet their behaviors increase their chances of data theft.

The amount of sensitive data that is being stored on smartphones is incredible. It not only includes login information for email and social network accounts, but it also involves proof of insurance cards, credit and debit card numbers, identification numbers, and an entire directory of contact information for virtually everyone we know. But at the same time, many of us fail to make the right mobile security choices to ensure that this information stays out of the hands of others.

Mobile security efforts are not nearly as strong among consumers as the steps taken on PCs.

Many consumers are unaware of the fact that their devices could be hacked or become infected with a virus. Moreover, few have taken the steps required to stop this data from being used by someone who has stolen the device.

ABC News recently reported that there are ten foolish behaviors that many people either do or fail to do in the use of their mobile devices. They included the following:

• A lack of password protection for their phone in general and for individual apps and accounts.
• Failing to purge old smartphone data before disposing of the device.
• Making purchases through a smartphone browser instead of through a commerce application.
• Failing to log out of banking and payments apps.
• Connecting automatically to any WiFi connection that is available.
• Leaving the Bluetooth connection open while not in use.
• Storing highly sensitive data on smartphones, such as Social Security numbers, PINs, and bank or credit card account information, which require far more mobile security than the device is capable of providing.