QR (Quick Response) codes are supposedly the next big thing. The main reason for that assertion is that they offer a quick and convenient means of gathering information with a smart phone. All you need to do is scan a square image, much like the one below, and your phone will read whatever information is encoded within the picture.
The type of information that can be contained within a QR code is quite varied too, from web site URLs to names and phone numbers to lines of text.
The image above is quite safe – it has a link to this here web site embedded in it – but not all QR codes are so safe.
According to Kaspersky Lab expert Denis Maslennikov malicious QR codes which link to malware are very much on the rise. In his example, if the QR code is scanned on an Android phone then it will redirect the user’s phone browser to a site where an app called jimm.apk will be downloaded.
Jimm.apk is a trojanised version of the Jimm application which is a mobile ICQ client. The malware in this case will send several SMS messages to a premium rate number – 2476 – at a cost of $6 a time.
Like Denis, I agree that the rise of malware delivered by QR codes was inevitable – malware authors are looking to earn money from their work and will follow the latest trends, safe in the knowledge that the average computer/internet/phone user will be unaware of the many risks associated with the latest ‘cool’ topic of the day.