Phishing, a persistent cyberthreat, has evolved with the times. Once a symbol of convenience, QR codes are now being weaponized by attackers through Quishing.
This alarming trend demands attention, as it exposes both individuals and organizations to significant risks.
Interpol’s takedown of 16 shops, a notorious phishing platform, marked a significant victory. However, the availability of “phishing-as-a-service” platforms makes launching attacks easier than ever.
This, combined with the increasing popularity of QR codes, creates a perfect storm for widespread phishing attacks.
Trellix has conducted research that provides valuable insights into the magnitude of the threat in question.
They detected over 60,000 quishing samples in just one quarter, targeting users through various tactics like postal phishing, spear phishing, and malware delivery.
To understand how quishing works, let’s delve into the “Quishing Kill Chain”:
- Attackers distribute malicious QR codes: These codes can be found in emails, websites, flyers, or even physical locations.
- Unsuspecting victims scan the codes: This action redirects them to malicious websites designed to steal credentials, install malware, or infiltrate devices.
- Attackers achieve their malicious goals: This could involve stealing sensitive data, compromising systems, or launching further attacks.
The resurgence of QR codes has paved the way for quishing to flourish.
Attackers exploit the trust we have in these codes and our inherent tendency to act quickly when faced with urgency.
This makes individuals and organizations alike vulnerable to sophisticated phishing tactics.
Trellix’s research reveals insightful details about recent quishing campaigns:
- Postal quishing: Emails impersonating FedEx and DHL lure users with delivery concerns, directing them to fake login pages.
- Spear quishing: HR, payroll, and IT impersonation are used to trick employees into revealing sensitive information.
- File-share quishing: SharePoint, DocuSign, and OneDrive deliver phishing URLs or malware disguised as legitimate documents.
- Crypto wallet quishing: Coinbase and Binance are impersonated to steal crypto wallet phrases and private keys.
To prevent falling victim to quishing, here are some essential tips:
- Be wary of unexpected QR codes: Don’t scan any code you come across without verifying its legitimacy.
- Analyze the source: Is the QR code included in a legitimate email, website, or location?
- Never enter sensitive information: Don’t log in to accounts or provide personal details after scanning a QR code.
- Use security solutions: Invest in reliable email security and anti-malware software to protect your devices.
- Stay informed: Keep yourself updated about the latest phishing tactics and educate others about quishing.