The massive uptick in QR Code phishing is an indicator that scammers are seeing success in taking victims from the initial attack medium to one under the attacker’s control.
It’s usually bad when we compare one month or quarter to another and see an increase. But when it’s a single month compared to more than half a year, you know it’s REALLY bad. And that’s what we find in security vendor ReliaQuest’s latest blog covering how Quishing is being used.
According to ReliaQuest, when comparing the cumulative amount of quishing in January through August of this year with September, there was a 51% increase!
More than half (56%) of quishing emails involved resetting two-factor authentication. And slightly less than one-fifth (18%) of quishing emails involved spoofed banking pages.
The cybercriminals behind the quishing attacks are leveraging every possible means of obfuscating the malicious nature of their QR codes, including “smuggling” the QR code in a PDF or image file so it can’t be detected occurred in 12% of attacks. Also the use of legitimate web platforms was common in 18% of attacks to fend off any security scanner that would attempt to check the destination URL, not realizing that the initial link is merely a cleverly disguised redirect to a malicious site.
It seems a bit ludicrous that anyone would fall for a quishing attack, given the awkward user experience that exists when asking someone to not simply click a link (no, no – that would be FAR too easy!), but instead pull out your phone and use the camera’s QR code recognition capabilities to take you to the intended destination. Despite the required switch of devices, these attacks are growing in popularity.
So, it becomes necessary to ensure that your users realize that there isn’t a single legitimate business instance where one company is going to require another to open and email, scan a QR code, and complete the business transaction, etc. on their mobile device. It’s either going to be common sense, or your users simply need to take new-school security awareness training to be reminded that this kind of effort is malicious in nature and should be avoided.
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