Cyber Security Blog

Stay ahead of the curve with industry trends, cutting edge tech and inventive strategies.

Understanding QR Code Phishing Attacks: A Guide to Protection

Have you ever scanned a QR code without a second thought? Perhaps you’ve used them in emails, to pay for products, or even explore websites with ease.

QR codes have become an integral part of our lives, making tasks more convenient. However, beneath their convenience lies a lurking danger – quishing. You’re probably no stranger to phishing attacks, but have you heard of quishing yet?

What Exactly is Quishing?

“Quishing,” the combination of QR and phishing, is a relatively new Cyber Security threat that exploits the widespread use of QR codes. To grasp the concept of quishing, let’s break it down into its two main components: QR codes and phishing.

QR codes, or Quick Response codes, are two-dimensional barcodes that smartphones and barcode scanners can easily read. During the pandemic, QR codes were crucial in helping businesses stay open safely.

It’s estimated that 86% of smartphone users in the UK and Europe have scanned a QR code at least once. These codes offer versatility, allowing for the storage of data and seamless scanning. You might even use QR codes at your organisation?

Static vs. Dynamic QR Codes:

There are two types of QR codes: static and dynamic. Static QR codes are unchanging; once generated, their content remains fixed. They’re perfect for sharing website links, contact info, or Wi-Fi passwords. Dynamic QR codes, on the other hand, offer flexibility. They can be updated without altering the code’s appearance, making them ideal for real-time information.

The Dark Side of QR Codes:

Phishing, a familiar term in the Cyber Security realm, involves tricking individuals into revealing sensitive data. While typically associated with email attacks, it has evolved into various forms, including “quishing” or QR phishing. You are probably aware of traditional phishing attacks, but quishing adds a new twist.

How Does Quishing Work?

Quishing exploits QR codes to lure unsuspecting victims to malicious websites or to download virus-laden files. The QR codes can be planted in emails, displayed in public places, or shared via various channels. Upon scanning, victims are prompted to provide sensitive information or unwittingly download malware. Recent examples include attacks on Microsoft credentials and bank impersonations, all using QR codes to deceive victims.


A Cunning Twist QRLJacking is a tactic where hackers manipulate QR codes used for logging into accounts. They trick users into scanning fake codes, which then hijack the session, giving hackers access. This is a risk in any system that uses QR codes for secure logins.

Real-Life Case Studies That Could Be You: Bank’s QR Code Hijack 

A major bank found itself at the forefront of a digital battlefield when it faced a sophisticated QR code phishing attack. This attack focused on the bank’s mobile app users, taking advantage of a simple feature that let customers log into their accounts on another device by scanning a QR code.

Response & Lessons Learned: The attack unfolded when cyber-criminals tampered with legitimate QR codes, subtly redirecting them to their own rogue servers. As a result, the unsuspecting users who scanned these manipulated QR codes found themselves in the clutches of cyber-criminals. The consequences were not just digital; they were very real, with individuals losing substantial sums of money.

Post-incident, the bank swiftly acted to address vulnerabilities: 

Reporting Quishing Scams: Stay Alert and Act If you’re concerned about scam emails involving QR codes, forward them to This action is vital in tackling and reducing the impact of these fraudulent schemes.

How to Tackle The Risk of Quishing Attacks:

But there’s good news. With the right approach, your organisation can turn this vulnerability into a strength. It begins with understanding your vulnerabilities. Assess how susceptible your employees are to phishing emails and cyber risks. Then, embark on a journey of continuous improvement, not just training for today but adapting and growing to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

In the fight against cyber threats like QR code phishing, knowledge isn’t just power—it’s protection. By investing in the right training and fostering a security-first culture, you can safeguard your organisation’s future and turn your workforce into a proactive line of defence.

Prepare Your Team From QR Code Phishing Attacks

Ready to Strengthen Your Cyber Defences from QR-code phishing attacks? Protecting your organisation from threats like quishing is more critical than ever. 

Equip your team with the knowledge and skills they need to become the first line of defence against cyber-attacks. Call us today on 0121 663 0055 or email

Ready to achieve your security goals? We’re at your service.

Whether you are a CISO, an IT Director or a business owner, Equilibrium has the
expertise to help you shape and deliver your security strategy.

Latest posts