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QR code generator scam steals thousands in Bitcoin – Naked Security


Every once in a while an attack comes along that is so simple to set up, and yet so effective, that it makes your jaw drop. Here’s one: fake bitcoin QR generators. According to web developer and cryptocurrency enthusiast Harry Denley, a wily scammer has been operating a network of fake bitcoin QR code generators to dupe people out of their bitcoins.

Bitcoin uses addresses as conduits to send and receive bitcoin payments. To improve anonymity (which was a fundamental design principle for bitcoin), these addresses are disposable. You’re not supposed to reuse them. You can imagine how many bitcoin addresses you’d need to support a massive cryptocurrency network ad infinitum. It’s a lot. That’s why each address is up to 35 alphanumeric digits long. They’re not something you’d want to write down or type in manually.

Instead, people use QR codes – the blocky squares invented by Masahiro Hara – to represent them easily to others. Invoicing and payment software will often generate these automatically. Someone making a payment can scan them and send bitcoin to that address.

Denley explained on Twitter that he had found sites offering to generate QR codes for people if they typed in a bitcoin address:

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