Coding an app into a QR code?

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Coding an app into a QR code?

Post by acevic on Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:12 am
([msg=67557]see Coding an app into a QR code?[/msg])

I know this might sound insane, but judging from the multiple applications of QR codes, does anyone think it would be possible to include source code into a QR code that would be interpreted on the scanning device through an app integrating an interpreter and executing the code, providing the functionality of a mini app? This provides the stats as to the possible data bearing capacities of various QR code types and sizes. Has anyone given something like this a thought yet?

In a simpler manner for those who have no clue what I am talking about, would it be possible to store software on a QR code as plain text or a special high level language made to be short for such applications?

Would love to work on the idea and experiment if this were possible. A snap and execute program...
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Re: Coding an app into a QR code?

Post by LoGiCaL__ on Wed Jun 27, 2012 6:37 am
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I'm not a 100% sure on this but this is interesting. Maybe with some kind of compression algorithm it would increase the chances or at least be able to fit a larger program into it. It's funny because not to long ago I read how these QR codes are potential threats with people just scanning and blindly being sent to sites/links. If storing a program within the data were possible I'd say that would definitely create some risks. Besides all that though I'd be interested to see how this goes.
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Re: Coding an app into a QR code?

Post by edone automaton on Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:35 am
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LoGiCaL__ wrote:It's funny because not to long ago I read how these QR codes are potential threats with people just scanning and blindly being sent to sites/links.


Me too, SANS security paper?
It was basically saying that the potential is there to pwn certain functions on peoples phones (camera, microphone, gps locations etc) but this was, as logic says, by means of directing the unsuspecting user to some malicious site via the QR code and nastiness then ensues. It wouldn't be too difficult for some hacktivist group or similar to make the malicious QR code available to their followers to print off and stick over the top of legitimate codes (would also be a good marketing ploy).
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Re: Coding an app into a QR code?

Post by LoGiCaL__ on Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:43 pm
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edone automaton wrote:
LoGiCaL__ wrote:It's funny because not to long ago I read how these QR codes are potential threats with people just scanning and blindly being sent to sites/links.


Me too, SANS security paper?


Nah, it was from the fall volume of 2600. Something was mentioned briefly not very much in detail. Enough to raise interest though.
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Re: Coding an app into a QR code?

Post by acevic on Thu Jun 28, 2012 1:17 am
([msg=67586]see Re: Coding an app into a QR code?[/msg])

LoGiCaL__ wrote:I'm not a 100% sure on this but this is interesting. Maybe with some kind of compression algorithm it would increase the chances or at least be able to fit a larger program into it. It's funny because not to long ago I read how these QR codes are potential threats with people just scanning and blindly being sent to sites/links. If storing a program within the data were possible I'd say that would definitely create some risks. Besides all that though I'd be interested to see how this goes.


I have read about the QR code threats and apparently they perform stupid simple functions. My point however, is standalone data storage within the QR code. I like the compression algorithm idea, but wouldn't that slow down the read process and ruin the whole point or a Quick Read code? I'm no expert on this, so forgive me if I make blatantly idiotic arguments/statements. The coding on the QR could be done through a LISP/Smalltalk variant/hybrid and there would be an on-the-fly snap, interpret and execute application for the cell phone. I'm sure there could be a lot of applications for this technology if possible.

Since all programming languages are stored in plain text, we can get around 4296 alphanumeric or 7089 numeric character limitation. If we use a shortening algorithm that changes the code to just numbers, we roughly double the character limitation. This plain text, when scanned can be interpreted on the scanning device on the fly. The problem however, lies in creating a code small enough to fit in. I also heard about something along the lines of Java Chip or something a couple of years back. It's supposed to write code that is small enough to fit into very low capacity devices. Gotta do some more research on that.

I'll get this idea through a couple of coders I know from the Mozilla community and get some feedback and/or laughter at the brilliance/utter stupidity of this idea. I'd love more people to look into this as this is an opportunity to create something different, i.e software on plain paper, and maybe, if it is possible, we could develop the idea as an open source project and research on it.

Update: Upon conducting further research on QR codes, I came across this. It's apparently a nicer looking version of a QR code in a radial format instead of the typical square. They claim to have more functionality than an average QR code. I am not sure as to their data bearing capacity, but I have made an inquiry and am awaiting their response.
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Re: Coding an app into a QR code?

Post by OnlyHuman on Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:23 pm
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Trippy, I haven't been here in the longest time and I was just looking at this exact same thing earlier today. Then, this happens to be one of the first threads I find here. So, I'm going to take advantage of this serendipity and contribute what I found. Wikipedia has a small section on malicious QR Codes, and even has a link to a file called "The Smallest Virus I Could Manage." But, from what I've gathered, and I haven't looked too heavily into this, the biggest attack vector seems to be the user convenience factor, and the fact that by it's very design, it's sort of a steganographic wet dream. A person of malicious intent could simply get stickers of a QR Code pointing to a malicious site made, then disguise it as a service to offer free MP3's, post it on a sign, in public, and people subject to fall for that sort of thing, get infected when their phone opens the site. Of course, then there's a little presentation from Defcon 18 that I love so much, that ties nicely into all this too.

~> Defcon PDF File <~

But, I'm sure that would have to be reworked in order TO work. Either way, just some stuff I found.
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