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China tech giant falls victim to QR code attack

Chinese social media giant Tencent has admitted to being compromised by cybercriminals, who used an infected QR scanning code to target its users.

The tech firm posted an announcement on its main social media rival Weibo, in which it said user accounts had been hijacked by black-hat hackers and apologized for the incident.

Also known as QQ, Tencent operates instant messaging, online social gaming, and web portal services among others.

Threat actors behind the QR phishing or “quishing” attack - which targeted the login system for its gaming platform - then spammed compromised accounts with “bad image advertisements.”

It is unclear whether Tencent meant indecent or pornographic material by this, but one angry respondent on Weibo said: “Sending indecent information everywhere, it's illegal picture and video software, endangering the public, and must be severely punished!”

Tencent apologized to its users and claimed the vulnerability had been patched and the affected accounts returned to normal after an investigation. “We are collecting and sorting the criminal evidence of black [hat] gangs, and will cooperate with relevant departments to protect the rights and interests of the platform and users,” it said.

It also urged users not to scan QR codes from unknown sources, and called on them to be more vigilant when logging in to their accounts from “unusual” locations.

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