In the logistics and supply chain management world, smart packaging has revolutionized how things are tracked, monitored, and managed.
Smart packaging integrates advanced tracking technologies, such as RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), NFC (Near Field Communication), and QR codes, enabling real-time visibility throughout the supply chain.
This enhanced traceability empowers businesses to track and monitor their products at every stage, from production to delivery. It reduces the chances of lost or misplaced shipments, improves inventory management, and enhances overall supply chain efficiency.
Unfortunately, while QR codes are handy, they can also be tampered with by malicious individuals. In a recent study, ExpressVPN found that QR code frauds have increased since the pandemic. In particular, fraudsters have been exploiting QR codes found on restaurant menus. This is particularly concerning given that 53 percent of U.S. restaurants have switched from physical menus to QR code ones.
QR codes used in smart packaging, restaurants, and sign-up forms in the medical industry are helpful and offer plenty of conveniences. Before adopting QR codes, though, it’s necessary to understand their risk.
Cybercriminals may create malicious QR codes that, when scanned, can lead to phishing attacks, malware downloads, or unauthorized access to personal information. Unsuspecting users may unwittingly expose their devices and sensitive data to these risks.
Scanning QR codes often require granting specific permissions, such as accessing the camera or scanning personal information. This can raise privacy concerns, especially if the QR code is linked to a third-party app or website that collects user data without proper consent. Hackers might purposely lead QR code users to malicious websites, as they can also be tampered with.
Many individuals are unaware of the risks associated with scanning QR codes. This ignorance can lead to reckless scanning habits, increasing the chances of falling victim to fraudulent schemes or compromising personal information.
Implement thorough screening processes when selecting suppliers and partners involved in producing and packaging goods. Verify their security practices and follow strict protocols to prevent the insertion of malicious QR codes or other vulnerabilities.
Develop internal processes or invest in scanning technologies that allow businesses to verify the integrity of QR codes before scanning them. This can involve using trusted QR code scanning applications or implementing specialized QR code scanning devices that can detect and flag potentially malicious codes.
Collaborate with packaging designers and manufacturers to incorporate security features into packaging materials. This can include tamper-evident seals, holograms, or unique identifiers, making detecting tampering or unauthorized alterations to QR codes easier.
Conduct comprehensive training programs to educate employees and stakeholders about the risks associated with the dangers of QR codes. Make them aware of the warning signs, best practices for scanning QR codes securely, and the potential consequences of falling victim to scams or cyberattacks.
By implementing these proactive measures, the supply chain industry can significantly reduce the risks of malicious QR codes in smart packaging.