Sneaky cybercrooks are disguising links to malicious sites in spam emails posing as messages from Hewlett-Packard ScanJet printers.
The attack takes advantage of the fact corporate users often receive emailed messages from scanners and multi-function printers located in their own offices, which contain attachments of the scan that the device has just completed. In this case the scam messages contain links to a site hosting malware.
The ruse is an extenuation of earlier scams where fake scanner results contained a malicious attachment. Malicious attachments of this type are easier to catch than links to malicious websites, hence the decision by cybercrooks to switch tactics.
In one case recently encountered by Sophos, the link of the supposed scan result page directed the user to a Russian-hosted website riddled with malware. Scam messages contain forged header information designed to hoodwink prospective marks into thinking that the dodgy message came from inside their corporate LAN rather than from external cybercrooks.
Sophos has a full write-up of that attack in an advisory notice on its Naked Security blog.
The abuse of HP's brand in the attack is purely incidental. Cybercrooks could easily run exactly the same attack using messages purporting to come from a Lexmark or Brother device, for example.
"As always, be very careful dealing with unsolicited emails and wary of clicking on unknown links - even if you do think at first that they could have been sent to you by one of the printers or photocopiers in your office building," Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, advises. ®