The Ultimate Cost-Effective Way to Level Up the Security of Your QR Codes or Barcodes

External security elements are being used everywhere — to trace goods, verify products, or identify objects. You can find them on labels and packages in many industries such apparel, pharmaceuticals, and automobile manufacturing. They have been mass adopted by consumers, often in the form of QR codes or barcodes.

QR codes

QR codes first appeared in Japan in 1994 at a company called Denso, which was an automotive parts manufacturer. One of their employees, engineer Hara Masahiro, came up with an improvement of the standard line barcodes they used to track their products. QR codes soon became mainstream, and everyone with a cellphone camera had a chance to quickly scan and access information using the digital device. Now, you can find QR codes everywhere — from auto parts, bottles of wine, to sport tickets. A QR (Quick Response) code is a special barcode that contains information about the item to which it is attached. It’s often used for mobile payments, coupons, product verification, smart transportation, or even ID authentication. It’s estimated that more than 11M households will scan a QR Code by the end of this year.

QR codes are easy to use, and companies can print them and attach to a wide variety of products. The codes are scanned at every stage in the supply chain from production to final delivery point. They provide information about where the product was, at what time, as well as who handled it.

QR codes lack security and cannot reliably authenticate products.

QR codes are a convenient security solution, as they can be easily scanned with a smartphone and offer consumers a way to identify products they purchased. But they lack security and can be easily removed from products, copied, or faked.

QR codes are convenient, but lack security.

QR codes are simple to recreate and reproduce. They’re easy to generate and attach to products, and that’s why they are very popular in inventory management. Unfortunately, it also makes them highly vulnerable to counterfeiting. Criminals can simply copy a manufacturer’s QR code and pass it off as genuine.

Anyone can tamper with both digital and physical QR codes to replace legitimate codes with malicious ones.

QR codes can also be faked. Many consumers don’t even bother to scan a QR code on a product. They merely see it included on the product and assume that it means the product is legitimate. Counterfeiters use this opportunity by creating fake QR codes that contain inaccurate information or no information whatsoever. Put simply, QR codes cannot reliably authenticate items.

QR codes can be created cheaply, often at no cost. Hundreds of links are found on the internet offering free QR code generators. These tools are simple to use, and the creator can select where the QR takes the reader (e.g., to a URL, phone number, SMS, text, etc.). It’s nearly impossible for the naked eye to distinguish a genuine code from the fake. Anyone can tamper with both digital and physical QR codes to replace legitimate codes with malicious ones.

Scammers print a copy of the original product’s QR code and place it on their counterfeit product’s packaging. Without security or anti-counterfeiting features, the customer will still be able to scan the code and see product information as if it was a genuine product.

The simplest codes to counterfeit are static, dynamic or non-unique QR codes. Scammers can simply make copies of the product’s packaging, including the QR code. The customer buys a counterfeit product, scans the copied QR code, and is redirected to the same product information website URL as the real product. There’s no easy way for the brand to distinguish which users on the website came from the real product or from the fake, and there’s no way to alert customers that they’ve obtained a counterfeit product.

The Better Business Bureau’s Scamtracker site lists 46 QR code-related attacks in the U.S. since March 2020. As consumers become more accustomed to using QR codes, security officials expect even more attacks. On the internet, we see examples of various coupon scams across many industries.

In retail: One woman was able to make bogus coupons and scammed retailers out of $32 million. She was capable of counterfeiting coupons for a wide variety of store products.

Criminals can make fake copies of original tickets and sell it to many people.

For access control at events: Sport tickets are also very vulnerable for counterfeiting. The 2022 UEFA Champion Leagues Final was disrupted by fake tickets which wrecked havoc in the turnstiles. It caused a delay of over half an hour to the start of the match. French police fired tear gas to disperse thousands of frustrated fans who were standing outside the Stade de France that couldn’t get in due to the fake tickets issues and other organizational errors.

For sports and entertainment events, concerts, and exhibitions, criminals can make fake copies of the original ticket and sell it to many people.

It’s virtually impossible for the naked eye to distinguish a genuine code from the fake.

For important documents: During the pandemic, criminals started creating their own forged COVID-19 vaccine certificates using advanced software and digital tools. This creates complex problems where we cannot distinguish between real and fake cards, which pose a threat to public health. It’s critical that these important documents are 100% secure.

A secure QR code provides a mechanism for effective supply chain management. Managing the supply chain is essential for streamlining operations, tracking inventory, maximizing profits, and proving to customers that their products are legitimate. A proper supply chain management is key to quality control, operational efficiency, and brand reputation.

Some companies offer an additional security of QR codes with serialized (unique) codes on packaging. They insert a randomly generated security image into a QR code and make a secure QR code that can be authenticated as the original. But what if counterfeiters copy a product’s packaging and use their own QR codes to bypass the serialized QR code? The customer will scan the counterfeit product’s QR code and be directed to a fake website that can be easily mistaken with the official website. These techniques simply don’t provide a full security that QR codes need.

Veracity Protocol’s technology

Veracity Protocol offers a completely non-invasive solution that leverages material science and computer vision. Like a human fingerprint, individual products have a unique identity at the microstructure level. Now, the product itself is the record of authenticity. No change is required.

Veracity Protocol can add an additional security to any external elements and work in tandem with them without impacting your production process, product design, or label supply chain and sourcing strategy. Layering both technologies provides companies the opportunity to get the best of both worlds and provide a highly accurate and quick identification and authentication system.

Unlike external security elements, our technology is impossible to reverse-engineer, tamper with, or duplicate.

Using computer vision and machine learning, we create an immutable link between the physical product and its digital representation. Every item has its own unique physical structure — like a human fingerprint — which we call its Physical Codeᵀᴹ. This is done by simply taking a picture of the item with a standard industrial or smartphone camera during the manufacturing process. Protection is instant. Then, the product is immutably linked to its digital passport that can be integrated in supply chain systems or blockchain. Anyone in the supply chain can complete a verification at any time. Veracity Protocol’s algorithm analyzes the item’s unique material characteristics, and the verification results are highly accurate. Any consumer with a smartphone camera can know if the product is genuine or faked. Unlike external security elements, our technology — the Physical Codeᵀᴹ — is impossible to reverse-engineer, tamper with, or duplicate.

Applied to QR code — we level up security

Although a QR code on a label or packaging can be copied, its surrounding unique microscopic surface can not. Once protected, anyone with a smartphone can identify and authenticate your product without needing an app. It’s impossible for a counterfeiter to copy the QR code, even on the original label.

Our Physical Code™ cannot be changed, manipulated, or tampered with because it is based on an item’s unique material structure — unlike tags, chips, or invisible markers.

Features

  • Works with the item, packaging, and label as is
  • Requires only a smartphone, no app needed
  • Immutable and ultimate security

Impact — the ultimate security

  • Authenticate products from any smartphone
  • High security with no additional burden on the product design or production process
  • Create an immutable link between the physical object itself and its digital twin
  • Environmental friendly solution

Veracity Protocol’s technology can secure the authenticity, identity, and security of any product — without special hardware, embedded tags, chips, or markers. It has 99.99% accuracy with real-world applicability and works in various light conditions, angles, and on many materials. Due to its non-invasive nature, it can be seamlessly integrated into any production line.

Veracity Protocol is always here to discuss this, so don’t hesitate to reach out at hello@veracityprotocol.org.

Connect with us

Veracity Protocol is the new standard of trust for physical objects to protect people, brands, and national security. Using computer vision, Veracity Protocol enables any camera to create a tamper-proof Physical Code™ based on an item’s unique material structure. The technology is used as the key component for preventing counterfeiting, fraud, and manipulation, and also acts as the immutable bridge between the physical and digital.

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Veracity Protocol

Veracity Protocol

The Protocol of Trust for Physical Objects • Protecting customers, brands, and national security / #traceability #trust #authentication #protection #security