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Making QR codes Trustable

Updated: Jan 19, 2022

One problem with standard QR codes is that people can’t easily verify the integrity of the codes before scanning them. This can be a problem if hackers try replace a QR code with their own. A highly effective solution for this problem - preventing the scanning of counterfeit QR codes - is individualized high quality animations of the QR codes. In this approach, some or all of the black squares of the code are uniquely animated into alternating patterns from the code to an image - a portrait, logo, or purchase item for example - and then animated back to the scannable code in a short duration looping animation. This method can be practical when the QR code is expected to be displayed on an electronic screen at a public location or on a personal mobile phone.

Animated QR codes displayed on electronic screens provide multiple layers of protection for the person scanning.

First, when a QR code is presented on an electronic display, it cannot be simply covered over with an imposter QR code like printed QR codes can; any such physical overlay would be easily detected by the scanning audience. When a code is displayed on a screen, people expect to see the glow of the electronic display, and they would expect the displayed image to be 'behind the glass' or 'in the depth' of the electric screen. A sticker slapped on top of a screen is simply too obvious an interception of intended communication.

Second, any alteration of the actual animation file by a hacker - which is fundamentally much more difficult - could be easily recognized by the viewer since altered animations are visually easily detectable but very difficult to create, much like the ink dots of printed cash are. Any glitches or low quality movement in the animations would immediately stand out, since people’s vision has evolved to detect movement with extremely high fidelity. Any low quality changes to the animation would simply ‘pop out’ to the viewer as ‘something is wrong here’ in a manner not much different than when people evaluate if cash is authentic or counterfeit.

Animation is even known in to provide a basic synesthesia - an overlapping perception of multiple senses - so people can have a true comprehensive ‘feeling’ that a specific animated code is safe to scan.

Furthermore, the animations of such codes can be branded themselves, providing any potential viewer with a technology-free method to authenticate the validity of a QR code as having been published by a specific organization or person.

Finally, in cases requiring even tighter security needs, animated QR codes can be customized for their specific intended audience - even specific people - in a way those people scanning expect from the provider based on an established transaction history. In other words, people can expect something like 'This bank always sends me a code that has this specific animation I chose. If I don't recognize the animation presented to me in a transaction that claims to be from my bank, I'm not going to scan it'. In this case, human based authentication - requiring no technology other than human vision and memory - can be quite easily achieved.

Our animated QR codes are a very unusual product; they can significantly enhance security for your target audience, and their sense of confidence in your QR codes. Truly: 'The best QR codes are Animated'.

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