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Computer Forensics Expert:
Heinz Ketchup QR Code Leads to Porn Website!

QR Codes Can Be Useful, They Can Be Harmful!

Digital Evidence Forensics Expert / Cyber Security Articles

By Scott Greene

QR codes are a great way to drive traffic to a website from business cards or other promotional materials. For instance, this QR code will take you to Evidence Solutions, Inc.’s website:

ESI Website www.evidencesolutions.comwww.EvidenceSolutions.com

 QR Scott Greene Contact Information

However, QR Codes can also be dangerous.

A Major Public Relations Failure for Heinz Ketchup.

Recently the Heinz Foods company in Germany had a promotion where the consumer could help design the new label for their ketchup bottles. To do this, customers would scan a QR code on the bottle and that would lead them to a website for Heinz.

However, there was a batch of bottles that had an incorrect code which lead to a German porn site. Heinz had two failures that led to this public relations debacle: 1) it failed to renew the domain name that it was going to use in this particular marketing campaign; 2) it failed to test the QR codes before they went into production.

What is a QR Code?

A “Quick Response Code” or QR code is a type of two-dimensional barcode. It was first developed for the automotive industry in Japan. It was used as a machine-readable label that contained information about the item to which it is attached.

The QR Code system became popular outside the automotive industry due to its fast readability and storage capacity. Current applications include: product tracking, item identification, time tracking, document management, and general marketing.

Safe Use of QR Codes:

Unfortunately for the consumer, QR codes are frequently trusted implicitly. It is for this reason that QR codes can sometimes be used to download malware or other nasty things to your smartphone. These occurrences are rare right now, but will become more common in the future.

When using a QR code, make sure that the decoded link is a valid website that you want to visit. Most apps will pop up with a notification that tells you what is in that code and what you want to do with it. As an example, use your cell phone to scan the QR code above. You will see that it leads you to www.EvidenceSolutions.com . Use this step to protect your phone and data from hackers.

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By Scott Greene

Evidence Solutions, Inc.

Complex Electronic Evidence in PLAIN English.

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