QR code security and privacy: How to protect your customer’s data

Various industries including retail, transportation, and healthcare have begun using QR codes to give customers easy access to information or to make transactions. 

However, as QR codes become more widespread, privacy and security concerns have arisen.

One concern is the potential for QR codes to redirect users to malicious websites. It can happen if an attacker creates a QR code and puts it somewhere it is likely to be scanned, like on a public ad or in a busy place.

It can redirect the user to a website controlled by the attacker, potentially exposing their device and personal information to malware or phishing attempts.

Another concern is the need for more security measures to protect the personal information collected through QR codes.

As more and more businesses turn to QR code security to collect customer data, it is essential to ensure that this information is kept secure and not shared with unauthorized parties.

How QR codes work and potential vulnerabilities

Let's begin with answering the question: What is a QR code?
QR codes work by encoding data, such as a website URL or contact information, into a two-dimensional pattern of black and white squares. 

A QR code scanner, like your smartphone’s camera or a third-party scanner app, decodes the data and performs an action based on the type of data encoded.

The scanner then analyzes the code, looking for specific patterns and markers that indicate the start and end of the encoded data. After locating the data, it will perform the action associated with it.

One potential vulnerability in the QR code system is the ability for attackers to generate their QR codes and place them in locations where they are likely to be scanned.

For instance, QR codes can be easily copied and modified by attackers. 

Suppose scanning users have sensitive information saved on their devices, such as login credentials or financial information. When they scan a QR code made by a scammer, their data may be at risk.

It is crucial to ensure that the QR codes you are scanning are legitimate and created by a trusted source to prevent this attack.

This is why we have tasked ourselves with educating users on how to spot malicious QR codes and use them safely is essential.

Best practices for protecting customer data

Use a secure QR code generator

When creating QR codes, use a secure generator that encrypts the data and includes security measures to prevent unauthorized access or modification.

But if you're looking for a free yet reliable QR code maker, check out the Free QR Code Generator.

Store customer data securely

Keep customer data collected through QR codes securely stored, preferably encrypted. Make sure to comply with any relevant data privacy laws and regulations.

Some generators offer dynamic QR codes with a password feature—you can add passwords to the code for added security.

Limit the data collected

Only collect the minimum amount of data necessary for the intended purpose of the QR code. It reduces the risk of data breaches and protects customers’ privacy.

Verify the authenticity of QR codes and their links

Before scanning a QR code, check its details. Where is it placed? Does it have anything suspicious? Do you feel it’s unsafe for you to scan it?

If you’ve scanned a QR code you think is not secure, check its link and run it through a website analyzer to see if it contains any malware.

To scan QR code on Android without an app, you will have to enable the built-in scanner.

Educate your customers

Inform customers about the potential risks associated with QR codes and how to use them safely. Provide them with clear instructions on scanning and validating the codes to avoid QR code scam.

Use cases of QR code security and data protection

Here are a few examples of companies that have implemented strong QR code security measures:


The worldwide famous coffee shop has a mobile app that allows customers to pay for their purchases by scanning a QR code. The app encrypts all financial information and uses secure servers to process payments to protect customer data. 

The app also includes a feature that allows customers to view their transaction history and detect suspicious activity.

Alibaba Group

Alibaba has implemented a system that uses QR codes to authenticate payments made through its Alipay mobile app. The system includes multiple layers of security, including encryption, biometric authentication, and real-time monitoring to detect suspicious activity.

Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines has introduced a contactless check-in process that uses QR codes to verify the identity of passengers. The system includes security measures such as encryption and digital signatures to ensure that attackers have not tampered with the QR codes.

Security breaches related to QR codes

These examples demonstrate the importance of implementing strong security measures to protect customer data when using QR codes and being vigilant about potential vulnerabilities in the QR code systems.

  • In 2018, researchers discovered a famous QR code library vulnerability that could allow attackers to redirect users to malicious websites.

They fixed the exposure by a coding error in the library and by releasing an update. This incident highlights the importance of keeping software and libraries updated and regularly checking for vulnerabilities.

  • In 2019, a group of researchers showed that creating a QR code that looks identical to a legitimate code but redirects the user to a different website was possible.

It highlights the importance of verifying the authenticity of QR codes before scanning them and educating users on how to spot malicious QR codes.

  • In 2020, A china based payment company faced a security breach due to a vulnerability in the QR code generation process. Attackers could generate QR codes that appeared to be legitimate but redirected users to a website controlled by the attacker.

The company fixed the vulnerability and implemented additional security measures to prevent similar breaches in the future. This incident highlights the importance of using secure QR code generators and regularly checking for vulnerabilities in the QR code generation process.

Create a safe and secure QR code today

QR codes can be a powerful tool for businesses, but it is essential to use them responsibly and prioritize the security and privacy of customer data. 

By taking these steps, businesses can ensure that their customers have a positive and safe experience using QR codes.

Businesses must implement strong security measures, such as using the free QR code generator and storing customer data securely to protect customer data and use QR codes safely.

Additionally, it is important to educate customers on how to safely use QR codes, including verifying the authenticity of QR codes and detecting potential malicious codes.

Companies must be aware of the potential risks and take the necessary steps to mitigate them. One way to do this is by using the best and most secure free QR code generator on the market.

Visit their homepage today and create QR codes that are 100% guaranteed safe for scanning.