Scammers pretend to be friendly office printers

A new ruse for infecting computers wtih malware has been spotted by researchers at Symantec

Hackers have found a new hook to trick people into opening malicious attachments: send emails that purport to come from office printers, many of which now have the ability to email scanned documents.

"This is a new tactic we haven't really seen before," said Paul Wood, senior intelligence analyst for Symantec.cloud, the company's Web-based security and email branch.

The emails invariably contain some kind of Trojan downloader, which can be used to download other malware or steal documents from the computer.

Symantec published examples of the emails collected recently in its latest monthly Symantec Intelligence Report, released on Tuesday. The emails at first glance look quite convincing, with a subject line "Fwd: Scan from a HP Officejet." The email reads "Attached document was scanned and sent to you using a Hewlett-Packard HP Officejet 05701J" and then "Sent by Morton."

Wood said it is common for the scammmers to spoof the sender's name and make it appear the email came from the same domain as the one that belongs to the recipient. Some of the messages captured by Symantec appear to be at a cursory glance internal company email, which makes it more likely that the person who receives the message will open the attachment.

The attachment is a ".zip" file, which is odd. Wood said it is unlikely that most printers with the email sending ability can actually send a ".zip" file; those printers mostly send image file, he said.

Although Windows has the ability to open ".zip" files, there is evidence the scammers are trying to obscure the ".zip" extension for those who use third-party tools to unzip the content. In some archiving tools, the malicious attachment appears to have a ".doc" or ".jpg" file extension. The hackers have manipulated file names to make it less likely to arouse suspicions, Wood said.

The overall social-engineering technique is along the same lines as other methods observed of late, such as sending emails purporting to be from well-known couriers with various malicious attachments, Wood said.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags symantec

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?