The revival of QR Codes

QR Codes

Over the past few months QR Codes have become increasingly more popular, especially in leisure venues and facilities. It is our current normal to arrive at our chosen destination, put our face coverings on and then whip our phones out of our pockets to scan the venues code. These quick and simple actions allow us to provide the venue with our contact details for the UK Covid-19 track and track system.

What are QR Codes?

So, what exactly is a QR Code? A QR Code or a Quick Response code has been around since 1994, but have never been more important and prevalent than they are now. The code itself doesn’t look particularly fancy, normally a black and white square barcode (some may include a little colour) and in essence that is exactly what they are.

To interact with one simply open a QR Code reader on your mobile device (you may need to download a reputable one if you don’t have a native one installed) and point your phones camera at the code. You will then be presented with the information which is inside the code e.g. a clickable link or downloadable content.

Enabling innovation in times of crisis

Over the years QR Codes have never completely taken off, nor have they disappeared. Part of the reason for this was due to them being used with little incentive for the end user and lack of understanding of the technology.

Throughout the pandemic and due to social distancing, contactless technologies are at the forefront of everyone minds. It is vital to maintain social distancing and minimise customer contact points to not only curb the spread of Covid-19, but also give consumers the confidence to continue with everyday activities which are within government guidelines.

From contactless payment methods, restaurant menus, a way to initiate customer service and even as a way to sign in to venues, QR Codes are being used everywhere as an affordable contactless solution.

Benefiting your business

When it comes to your business there are numerous advantages and benefits of using QR codes, take a look below to see just a few:

  • The sky is the limit, they can be used for anything and everything: wristbands, packaging, in restaurants, to provide more rich information, signage and even printed adverts

  • Bridge the gap between your offline and online marketing

  • Can be used to support a call to action

  • They can be setup to be trackable

  • Gives a creative and competitive edge

Security concerns

When it comes to static QR Codes, once they are made they are unable to be changed. If the creator makes a mistake or wants to make a change, they will have to start from scratch and create a new one. This isn’t the cause for dynamic codes, which with access to the users account they can be updated and changed on a regular basis. Well, this is great if you want daily updates or to keep your marketing campaign rolling without having to update all of your printed material with a brand new code. However, not so great if someone malicious accesses your account and changes the codes details.

One of the biggest problems with QR codes is that anyone can create them, this also includes those with malicious intent. Like we have mentioned previously, when it comes to your code the sky is the limit, this is also the same for those with malicious intent. Take a look below at the 3 main types of security concerns:

Phishing – A scammer creates a counterfeit code, this takes the user to a webpage that looks similar to your businesses. The user is then instructed to input their personal details thinking they are giving them to you.

Malicious Software – Once scanning the incorrect code the user is taken to a website which automatically starts downloading malicious software to the device

Dangerous Websites – Similar to malicious software, the user is taken to a harmful website which can download malicious software and perform background tasks without the user even being aware. Such as stealing passwords, personal details, credit card information and performing actions such as sending messages.

Keeping Safe

The important thing to remember is that the technology behind the codes themselves is not dangerous. Instead it it is when they are used incorrectly and with malicious intent that are there are problems. Takes a look below at a few tips to help yourself and your business stay safe:

  • Check the webpage URL which the code takes you too (including your own)

  • Ensure the there are no signs that the code has been tampered with e.g. a new one stuck over an old one or any new ones put up in your establishment not by yourself

  • Don’t just use any software to create a QR code, make sure it is one that you trust and test the code yourself to ensure it only takes the user to your site.

  • Look after your business WIFI network to reduce the risk of man in the middle exploits and device takeovers

Thinking about using a QR code for your next marketing campaign, or as a way to manage customers visiting your venue? Get in touch today to find out how we can help you safely integrate QR codes in to your business strategy.

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