MobileIron Research Reveals UK Consumers Are Using Loosely Secured Mobile Devices to Scan QR Codes, Putting Themselves and Businesses at Risk

48% of respondents do not have or do not know if they have security software installed on their devices

LONDON, September 15th, 2020: MobileIron (NASDAQ:MOBL), the mobile-centric security platform for the Everywhere Enterprise, today announced the results of a new research study, which has found QR codes are rising in popularity and use, with the majority (62%) of UK consumers favouring the greater use of QR codes, despite many people lacking sufficient security on their mobile devices and being largely unaware of the security risks posed by QR codes.

MobileIron’s study canvassed the opinions of over 500 UK consumers to understand their sentiments around QR codes. The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the QR code into a consumer and business necessity, driving an increase in QR code use in a variety of locations – 58% of UK respondents say they’ve noticed an increase in QR code use since the pandemic began.

QR codes have been essential to the safe success of the UK-wide Eat Out to Help Out restaurant scheme, with 45% of respondents revealing they had scanned a QR code in a restaurant, bar or café in the last 6 months, while almost three-quarters (71%) of respondents agree that QR codes ‘make life easier in a contactless world’.

This positive sentiment led 62% of respondents to claim they would favour the wider use of QR codes in the future. Specifically, the study found that just over half (53%) of respondents would be willing to use a QR code to vote on in-person ballot paper in future, while exactly half (50%) of respondents said they would use a QR code in the future as a payment method.

Despite the ever-expanding remit of QR codes, the study highlighted that UK consumers are largely unaware of the security risks posed by scanning a QR code. Two-thirds (66%) of respondents claimed they could not tell if a QR code is malicious or not, and over one-third (37%) of respondents did not know that hackers can target victims using a QR code. Alarmingly, nearly half (48%) of the respondents claimed they did not have or did not know if they have mobile security installed on their device.

David Critchley, Regional Director UK & Ireland, MobileIron said: “The results of this study act as a perfect demonstration of how the blurring of the lines between our personal and professional lives can put our enterprises at risk of a data breach. Corporate data resident on an employee’s device could easily be stolen when an employee blindly scans a QR code without understanding the associated security risks.”

Critchley added: “The onus is on businesses to take responsibility when it comes to device security; it should not be on the employee. In order to ensure their employees' personal use of their device won’t put business data at risk, businesses should invest in mobile threat detection (MTD) software. MTD will detect and remediate on device threats, such as ransomware downloaded by scanning a QR code, without the device user needing to take any action. This ensures the device is fully protected against all possible on-device threats.”

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About MobileIron
MobileIron is redefining enterprise security with the industry’s first mobile-centric security platform for the Everywhere Enterprise. In the Everywhere Enterprise, corporate data flows freely across devices and servers in the cloud, empowering workers to be productive anywhere they need to work. To secure access and protect data across this perimeter-less enterprise, MobileIron leverages a zero trust approach, which assumes bad actors are already in the network and secure access is determined by a “never trust, always verify” model.

MobileIron’s platform combines award-winning and industry-leading unified endpoint management (UEM) capabilities with passwordless multi-factor authentication (Zero Sign-On) and mobile threat defense (MTD) to validate the device, establish user context, verify the network, and detect and remediate threats to ensure that only authorized users, devices, apps, and services can access business resources in a “work from everywhere” world. Over 20,000 organizations, including the world’s largest financial institutions, intelligence agencies, and other highly regulated companies, have chosen MobileIron to enable a seamless and secure user experience in the Everywhere Enterprise.
Media contact:
Jenny Pfleiderer

Analyst contact:
Becca Chambers