Once widely used in the automobile industry, these two or three-dimensional scannable images of black squares on a white background have now expanded into many other industries.
QR codes, also known as Quick Response Codes, store a hundred times more data than a barcode and deliver it more quickly than the Universal Product Codes (UPC) found on the packages of retail products. The widespread adoption of mobile phones has also now made them a more practical solution for organizations.
Here’s how the data is delivered through a QR code in 6 basic steps:
QR code authentication is a type of phone-as-a-token authentication that helps identify a user. Traditional QR codes help organizations implement multi-factor authentication for their users by using the QR code to generate a time-based one-time password (TOTP).
Passwords, however, are not the most secure method for authentication, since they can easily be phished for attacks such as Account Takeover (ATO). They are also difficult to remember and can frustrate the user experience.
While QR codes themselves cannot be hacked, cybercriminals are increasingly creating fake QR codes that direct users to malicious websites, leading to fraud and identity theft. Unfortunately, these fraudulent QR codes can be impossible to detect. Organizations considering implementing QR code authentication must understand these risks and use a trustworthy source for QR code generation rather than relying on a free online generator. QR codes that use biometric authentication in their technology can also reduce security risks.
QR code authentication, especially when implemented through a trusted source, has a range of benefits.
A few of the main advantages of QR code authentication include:
In addition to the security concerns mentioned, QR codes have other disadvantages as well.
A more secure alternative to traditional QR code authentication is biometric authentication. Biometric authentication offers maximum security since they are using physiological or behavioral traits that are unique for each individual. The most common forms of biometric authentication are fingerprint readings, facial and voice recognition, and eyeball scans but they can also include heart-rate scans or typing patterns. In addition to offering greater security, they also offer a more seamless authentication experience for the user.
Since QR codes allow more data to be stored and delivered more quickly than previous solutions, they have applications in many sectors. They have also been widely adopted widespread adoption as the world has experienced rapid digital transformation.
One of the most common uses of QR in the retail space is as a tool for inventory management and manufacturing. However, they have also gained popularity with the rise of digital shopping. Retailers now place them on products to reveal personalized discounts for customers, on social media to drive more engagement through loyalty programs, and on payment systems to help meet the increasing demand for contactless payments. They can also be used so that customers can quickly reach customer support through the phone or email.
The travel industry places QR codes strategically on different tourist destinations and attractions to both advertise and provide additional travel information. The airline industry uses QR codes to verify boarding passes, and the hotel industry uses them for contactless dining and to provide its guests with faster check-ins.
With massive amounts of sensitive and confidential patient data in its possession, QR codes help increase security in the healthcare sector. They are used to verify patient ID cards and deliver medical staff important medical history in emergencies. They can also authenticate pharmaceuticals and help prevent counterfeit sales.
Governments of countries have started using QR codes to implement digital voter ID cards, verify official documents, and authenticate website logins to their services. Some cities such as Seoul have even used QR codes for more efficient management of trash bins.
Using biometric authentication with QR codes allows organizations to verify data while maximizing security. As a passwordless authentication service that organizations can quickly deploy, it also eliminates friction for its users.
Yes. QR codes can be used for traditional or biometric authentication. Biometric authentication, however, is more secure and user-friendly than traditional password authentication.
Yes. Although QR codes themselves are secure, they may lead victims to malicious sites. For example, original QR codes that lead to legitimate sites can also be replaced by ones that lead to a scam, as government officials have increasingly warned users as of late.
QR codes are inherently secure and reliable. However, their associated information has security implications. The same is true for emails, text messages, and other online communication tools. Criminals exploit them to their advantage.
It is the destination of QR codes that poses security risks. There is no way to hack QR codes, but it is possible to re-write QR Codes so they redirect to malicious websites. This is especially true for free QR generators. You should only use QR codes that are generated from a reliable source.
QR codes can seem accessible only to users excited about technology and that carry a mobile phone with them at all times.
Most mobile phones today come with a built-in QR scanner that is safe to use. However, if you do need to download a QR scanner, it’s best to download them from the Google Play Store to be safe.
BindID uses QR codes to register a customer’s mobile device using biometric authentication. The QR code authenticates the user each time so that he or she can log in automatically on multiple devices, channels, and applications.