QR codes can be a wonderful tool for directing people to a variety of places, however when you have one on say, a ketchup bottle, that say, directs you to a porn site, you may have an issue. That was apparently the case as food and ketchup maker Heinz is apologizing for a snafu after a man found a QR code on a Heinz ketchup bottle directing him to a pornography web site.
According to the company, the said QR code was out of date and it has taken strides to prevent this from happening again. The man who found it, Daniel Korell of Germany, reported the issue to the company and according to one security expert demonstrates the potential issues with QR codes.
The QR code in question was supposed to direct customers to a web site where they could design their own ketchup bottle label for Heinz Tomato Ketchup Hot during a promotion held by the company. However, the QR code URL went to a hosted porn site.
“I happened to scan it during lunch and I was a bit surprised where I got redirected to. I found it rather funny and thought it was worth [sharing] on Heinz’s Facebook page,” Korell told the BBC.
He spotted the problem link in late May and reported it by saying, “Your ketchup is probably not for minors.”
Korell said he bought the bottle recently but the registration for the URL had lapsed as the promotion was over. He did say Heinz was gracious enough to send him a free bottle as a thank you. A spokesman said the company has taken strides to avoid this happening again.
“Heinz in Germany has apologized for the way in which an out-of-date QR code and website link to design a Ketchup label in 2014 has been reassigned to an adult content site,” the spokesman said. “Clearly this was never our intention and we are taking steps to avoid this reoccurring.”
Again, the snafu just highlights the fact that URLs linked in QR codes may not be a permanent thing.
“QR codes can point to anywhere on the web,” Graham Cluley, an online security expert, said. “The problem is that humans don’t have a clue where they’re going to be taken because their brain can’t read a QR code, like they can a regular URL. It seems [Heinz] failed to renew their registration of the domain name, so it slipped out of their hands and was snatched up by an opportunistic porn site. Maybe in future they’ll think of redirecting any customers via heinz.com, rather than directly to a custom site for a specific campaign.”
Do you use QR codes? Have you run across one that sent you somewhere unexpected? Let us know in the comments below, or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.Source: BBC