$99 HP Tablets – Social Engineering, Scams or a Real Deal?

When HP made their announcement last week followed by the announcement that there would be a massive reduction in their pricing for their tablets every tablet junkie on earth was clicking their refresh button at amazing speeds. While most tablet junkies started to get excited, so did the social engineers.

Where there is need and desire there are scammers - and this is no different.

Let me start off by saying that HP is offering their tablets at $99 USD.  That is not a scam, but check out this URL that looks innocuous enough on the http://www.hewlett-packard.org.uk site.

Notice first off that this site looks and feels legit.  All the right logos, all the right graphics.  Then comes the bait:

Screen Shot 2011 08 23 at 2.02.04 PM $99 HP Tablets   Social Engineering, Scams or a Real Deal?

The HP Tablet is being offered for $49!  How many people would be so fast to click?  How many would be want to make sure they don’t miss out on the deal like before?

Lets analyze how one could have found that this was a scam site.

1)  The URLs:

Screen Shot 2011 08 23 at 2.30.33 PM $99 HP Tablets   Social Engineering, Scams or a Real Deal?

When did HP become a non-profit? .org?  That should make most people a little leery. In addition, every link on the site goes to something.hp.com not hewlett-packard.

2)  WHOIS Info:

A quick WHOIS on that domain show us

whois hewlett-packard.org.uk

Domain name:
hewlett-packard.org.uk

Registrant:
Phillip Sullivan

Registrant type:
Non-UK Individual

Registrant’s address:
4966 Edsel Road
Los Angeles
CA
90017
United States

Registrar:
eNom, Inc. [Tag = ENOM]
URL: http://www.enom.com

Relevant dates:
Registered on: 23-Aug-2011
Renewal date:  23-Aug-2013
Last updated:  23-Aug-2011

Registration status:
Registration request being processed.

Name servers:
ns1.he.net
ns2.he.net
ns3.he.net
ns4.he.net
ns5.he.net

WHOIS lookup made at 18:24:26 23-Aug-2011

A UK site with a LA registrar?  Made today?  Nice – but doubt HP moves that fast.

3)  The Images

Take a look at the UK link and the real HP.  The images on the UK link are pixelated and grainy.  Not clear, crisp and beautiful like in the real site.  This is a common tell on scamming sites/emails.

4)  Try to buy?

Yes and the final piece was if you try to buy the pad at $49.

Screen Shot 2011 08 23 at 2.15.35 PM $99 HP Tablets   Social Engineering, Scams or a Real Deal?

RICK ROLL!!!  Well of course whom ever set up this page meant it as a joke and no mlaicious intent…

But lets take a moment and reflect.  If this were actually a malicious scammer how many people would have clicked?

How many would have inserted credit card info?

How many would have put in name, address, phone and email info?

How many more attacks would be launched by those seeking for a cheap tablet pc?

The Lessons We Can Learn

In the end of the day lets use this as a learning lesson.  Common sense, critical thinking and taking the time to review could have save many from this “scam”.  Thankfully this one is just a joke put on by some stranger, but how many are not?  Phishing in combination with malicious links is a growing threat that one report indicates, as of January of this year grew in some areas as much as 50% and in others over 100% from the previous year.

Think critically, educate yourself and do not be so fast to click before thinking.

The Internet is a Dangerous Place – Be Safe.

Thanks to Chris Nickerson for helping me find this link!