Keepnet Labs Logo
Keepnet Labs > blog > 2024-qr-code-phishing-trends-in-depth-analysis-of-rising-quishing-statistics

2024 QR Code Phishing Trends: In-Depth Analysis of Rising Quishing Statistics

Discover the 2024 QR Code Phishing trends: From sophisticated quishing scams to preventive measures. Explore QR code phishing statistics and real quishing examples in 2024 to understand their impact and implications for cybersecurity.

2024 QR Code Phishing Trends: In-Depth Analysis of Rising Quishing Statistics

In 2024, QR code phishing has become a significant concern for individuals and businesses. With the increased use of Quick Response (QR) codes for various transactions and information sharing, malicious actors have found a ground for exploiting unsuspecting users. This blog post explores the latest QR code phishing statistics, shedding light on the scale and sophistication of these scams. We aim to provide readers with a comprehensive understanding of the current landscape of QR code-related fraud, offering insights into the most common tactics used by scammers and their impact on victims.

QR Code Phishing Statistics 2024

QR code phishing, also known as "quishing," is a cyber attack in which malicious QR codes are used to deceive individuals into revealing sensitive information. In 2024, Quishing statistics revealed a concerning rise in these types of QR code attacks. This article presents the latest data on QR code phishing statistics, highlighting the methods used by attackers, the most affected sectors, and the steps to combat this growing threat. Understanding quishing statistics is significant for developing effective strategies to protect against QR code-based phishing scams.

QR Code Phishing Incidents Rise in 2023

Image 1: Number of QR code phishing cases reported in June 2023

These quishing statistics show that from June to August 2023, a startling surge in QR code phishing emails was observed. Systems detected 8,878 such incidents, indicating a worrying shift in cybercriminal tactics. June witnessed the peak of this trend, with 5,063 reported cases in QR code phishing statistics.

Low Detection and Reporting Rates of QR Code Phishing Attacks

Image 2: Only 36% of QR code phishing attacks were accurately identified.

These QR codes phishing statistics reveal that the low detection and reporting rate is a concerning aspect of these attacks. Only 36% of these incidents were accurately identified and reported by the recipients. This gap in security awareness and preparedness leaves many vulnerable to the risks associated with deceptive QR phishing.

Targeted Industries: The Primary Victims of QR Code Phishing

Image 3: The energy sector is the most vulnerable to QR code phishing campaigns.

Analysis reveals that these Quishing campaigns more frequently target certain industries. These quishing statistics underscore that the Energy sector is the most vulnerable, receiving 29% of over 1,000 malware-infested phishing email QR codes. These QR code phishing statistics also show that manufacturing, Insurance, Technology, and Financial Services sectors are also at high risk, indicating a strategic focus by cybercriminals on sectors they perceive as either more lucrative or vulnerable.

QR Codes: A Preferred Tool in Phishing Campaigns
Image 4: 26% of all malicious links were embedded in all QR codes.

In these phishing campaigns, 26% of all malicious links were embedded in phishing QR code, highlighting the significant reliance of attackers on this method. 2023 marked a 587% increase in Quishing incidents, demonstrating its growing popularity among cybercriminals. Furthermore, QR codes were used in 22% of all phishing attacks during this period, emphasizing their critical role in the phishing landscape.

Projected Growth in QR Code Payment Systems and Associated Risks

Image 5: By 2025, global expenditures will exceed $2.4 trillion through QR code payments

By 2025, global expenditures via QR code payments will be projected to exceed $3 trillion, a substantial rise from $2.4 trillion in 2022. This growth, especially in markets like India, opens up vast opportunities for fraudulent QR code schemes, presenting a significant challenge in digital security.

Executives Face 42 Times More QR Code Phishing Attacks Than Average Employees in 2023

In 2023, executives experienced 42 times more QR code phishing attacks than the average employee. This alarming quishing statistic underscores the heightened risk that high-ranking professionals face in the digital landscape. Cybercriminals target executives due to their access to sensitive information and decision-making power within organizations.

Malicious QR Codes Account for Nearly 2% of All Scanned QR Codes

In a recent analysis, it was revealed that nearly 2% of all scanned QR codes were malicious. This quishing statistic highlights the growing threat of QR code phishing, where cybercriminals embed harmful links and malware into seemingly harmless codes. As QR codes become increasingly popular for various applications, the risk of encountering malicious ones rises.

Credential Phishing: Dominant Threat in QR Code Attacks

Credential phishing emerged as the primary threat in QR code attacks, with approximately 89.3% of detected incidents aimed at stealing login information and other sensitive data. This qr code phishing statistic highlights the urgent need for enhanced security measures and awareness to protect valuable credentials from cybercriminals.

Industry Impact: Retail Sector Most Vulnerable to QR Code Phishing

Different industries exhibit varying susceptibility levels to QR code phishing attacks. The retail industry, in particular, had the highest miss rate, indicating that a significant portion of employees struggled to identify and report suspicious QR codes. This quishing statistics the importance of industry-specific training and vigilance to combat the growing threat of QR code phishing.

Real Life Quishing Attack Examples

The real life quishing attack examples underscore the strategies employed by cybercriminals to exploit QR codes for malicious purposes. As we explore detailed accounts of real quishing incidents, ranging from 2020 to 2023, we gain insights into scammers' methods to orchestrate financial theft, identity fraud, and malware distribution.

Here are some real QR code phishing examples:

Early 2020: Introduction of Malware via Fake QR Code Scanner Apps

  • Scam Mechanism: Hackers created fake QR code scanning apps that, once installed, requested updates, leading to the download of malware like the TeaBot banking trojan.
  • Impact: Compromised device security, leading to unauthorized access to users' banking and personal data.
  • Financial Loss: Not specifically quantified.

March 2020: Bitcoin Thieves Use QR Code Readers

  • Incident: Nine fake Bitcoin-to-QR code generator websites were identified, misleading users to generate QR codes linked to scammers' Bitcoin wallets.
  • Impact: Direct financial loss to victims who thought they were generating QR codes for their own Bitcoin addresses.
  • Financial Loss: Victims lost a total of 7 BTC, equivalent to about $45,000 at the time of the scam.

2020: QR Code Scams at Sham COVID-19 Testing Centers

  • Overview: Illegitimate testing centers used QR codes to collect sensitive information under the pretext of COVID-19 testing registration.
  • Impact: Risk of medical identity theft and unauthorized personal and insurance information use.
  • Financial Loss: Not directly quantified.

October 2020: New Scam Method in Ukraine Using QR Codes

  • Scam Operation: Scammers in Ukraine used QR codes to infect victims' phones with malware, gaining access to social networks and banking apps.
  • Impact: Unauthorized access to personal and financial accounts, leading to potential financial theft and privacy breaches.
  • Financial Loss: Not explicitly quantified.

January 2021: Security Warning Over QR Code Scams

  • Incident: The ACCC's ScamWatch reported 28 scams involving QR codes, leading to the theft of personal contact information for malicious purposes.
  • Impact: Personal data used for marketing or criminal activities, leading to potential fraud and harassment.
  • Financial Loss: Losses totaled more than $100,000 between January and September 2020 due to QR code scams.

November 2022: Warnings Against Fake Paper Crypto Wallets

  • Incident: Scammers distributed QR-coded paper crypto wallets in public spaces, resembling legitimate Bitcoin paper wallets.
  • Impact: Victims are tricked into transferring funds to access a fake balance, leading to the theft of actual cryptocurrency holdings.
  • Financial Loss: Individuals were tricked into paying a "withdrawal fee," leading to the theft of all assets in their crypto wallets. The total number lost is unknown.

January 12, 2022: Fraudulent QR Codes on Parking Meters

  • Scam Details: In cities like Austin and San Antonio, scammers placed fraudulent QR code stickers on parking meters, leading victims to fake payment pages.
  • Impact: Credit card information is captured by scammers, leading to unauthorized transactions and financial theft.
  • Financial Loss: Not quantified per incident, but represents a significant risk of fraud and data theft.

August 2023: Railway Station QR Code Scam in the UK

  • Scam Execution: Fraudsters overlaid genuine QR codes with their own at Thornaby Station's car park, redirecting users to phishing sites.
  • Impact: Direct financial theft through unauthorized loans and credit card applications in the victim's name.
  • Financial Loss: The victim incurred debts totaling £13,000, including a fraudulent loan of £7,500 taken out by the scammers.

October 2023: İSPARK Parking Scam in Istanbul

  • Scam Overview: Fake QR code stickers claiming to be for İSPARK parking fee payments were placed on vehicles, deceiving users into making payments to scammer-controlled accounts.
  • Impact: Unauthorized credit card transactions, directly siphoning funds from victims to scammers.
  • Financial Loss: Specific amounts not detailed with potentially significant cumulative losses.

December 2023: QR Code Scam Steals $10K from Calgary Family

  • Scam Mechanism: A fraudulent Interac e-transfer QR code was used in a Facebook Marketplace transaction, misleading the seller into entering banking credentials on a fake website.
  • Impact: Immediate financial loss and unauthorized access to the family's bank account.
  • Financial Loss: The family was instantly defrauded out of $10,000 after the transaction.

August 2023: The Teesside Parking Lot Scam

  • Incident Overview: In August 2023, a sophisticated quishing scam targeted unsuspecting victims at Thornaby Station's parking lot, managed by TransPennine Express. Scammers adeptly placed a counterfeit QR code over the parking lot's legitimate QR code, redirecting users to a fraudulent website.
  • Scammers' Strategy: The fraudulent website was designed to mimic an official payment portal, convincingly asking for personal and payment details under the guise of a parking fee transaction.
  • Victim Impact: This deceitful tactic led to significant financial losses for individuals, with one notable case involving a victim who lost £13,000 after being manipulated into divulging sensitive information.

The Need for Enhanced QR Code Security Measures

These statistics on QR code phishing underscore the escalating threat of Quishing. As cybercriminals refine their tactics, staying informed and adopting proactive defense strategies becomes paramount. The rising trend of Quishing is a stark reminder of the persistent and evolving nature of cyber threats like voice phishing attack statistics suggest. Enhanced QR code security measures like quishing simulators are advisable and essential in safeguarding against these sophisticated phishing attacks.

Protect Your Business Against QR Code Phishing Attacks with Keepnet's Quishing Simulator

Keepnet's Quishing Simulator, a sophisticated, cloud-based solution, is designed to evaluate and fortify your defenses against these QR phishing threats. With its extensive range of features, including over 600 ready-to-use templates and customizable scenarios in more than 30 languages, this tool is pivotal in nurturing a security-conscious culture within your organization.

Benefits of Keepnet's Quishing Simulator

  • Effective Security Awareness Training: Elevate your organization's defenses against QR phishing risks. Reduce the likelihood of financial losses, which can average over $1 million, while potentially achieving significant ROI through improved efficiencies and cost savings.
  • Enhanced Security Framework: Identify and mitigate risky behaviors to cultivate a robust security culture, effectively countering ongoing QR Code phishing threats.
  • Elevating Cybersecurity Knowledge: Experience an 87% improvement in employees' ability to identify and report QR Code phishing attacks within just three months.
  • Mitigating Legal Risks and Maintaining Compliance: Stay compliant with data protection laws to avoid substantial fines and legal complications.
  • Thorough Regulatory Adherence: Align your organization with GDPR, CCPA, and other relevant regulations.

Editor’s note: This blog is updated May 27th, 2024.

Watch our Youtube video below and see how we can protect you againts QR code phishing attacks with our QR Code Phishing Simulation software.



Schedule your 30-minute demo now!

You'll learn how to:
tickAutomate behavior-based security awareness training for employees that over 4 million people trust.
tickCreate realistic QR phishing templates reflecting the latest quishing attack trends.
tickTo create and distribute printed QR code phishing templates to simulate and test employee responses.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Recent Increase in QR Code Phishing Attacks?

arrow down

In 2024, there has been a significant rise in QR code phishing attacks, with statistics showing over a 270% monthly increase. This trend highlights the growing reliance of cybercriminals on QR codes as a tool for phishing.

What is Quishing Statistics?

arrow down

Quishing statistics refer to the data and analysis of phishing attacks that utilize QR codes to deceive victims into providing sensitive information or downloading malicious software. In recent years, these attacks have increased, with cybercriminals exploiting the convenience and popularity of QR codes. Quishing statistics encompass various aspects, such as the frequency of attacks, targeted industries, methods used, and the overall impact on cybersecurity. By examining QR code phishing statistics, organizations and individuals can better understand the threat landscape and implement effective measures to safeguard against QR code phishing attacks.

How Prevalent Are QR Code Phishing Attacks in Different Industries?

arrow down

QR code phishing attacks are becoming increasingly prevalent across various industries. In 2024, sectors like Energy, Manufacturing, and Retail have seen a notable rise in such attacks, with nearly 29% of phishing emails in these industries containing malicious QR codes.

What Percentage of Phishing Attacks Involved QR Codes in 2023?

arrow down

In 2023, QR codes were used in approximately 22% of all phishing attacks, a significant increase from previous years. This statistic underscores the growing importance of QR code security in the digital landscape.

How Effective is Security Awareness Training for QR Code Phishing Attacks?

arrow down

Security training has proven highly effective against QR code phishing attacks. Organizations utilizing comprehensive training programs have reported up to an 87% improvement in their employees' ability to identify and report these attacks within a few months.

What is the Cost of QR Code Phishing Attacks on Businesses?

arrow down

QR code phishing attacks can have a substantial financial impact on businesses. On average, companies can incur losses exceeding $1 million due to these attacks. Investing in preventive measures and security training can significantly reduce these potential financial losses.

iso 27017 certificate
iso 27018 certificate
iso 27001 certificate
ukas 20382 certificate
Cylon certificate
Crown certificate
Gartner certificate
Tech Nation certificate