Scammers Exploit Indian Govt Sites for Online Betting Ads: TechCrunch

Online Betting Ads Uncovered on Indian Government Websites

Indian government websites have recently been compromised by scammers planting redirection ads for online betting platforms. This discovery was made by TechCrunch, which found approximately four dozen “” website links associated with various Indian states, including Bihar, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Mizoram, and Telangana, redirecting to online betting sites. Shockingly, some of these websites were linked to state police and property tax departments in their respective states.

Scammy Ads Indexed by Search Engines

The scammy links were indexed by search engines like Google, making these ads easily discoverable online. The redirecting websites boasted about being “Asia’s most popular” online betting platform and “the number one online cricket betting app in India.” They claimed to enable betting on games, including prominent cricket tournaments such as the Indian Premier League.

Uncertainty Surrounding the Scam

However, it remains unclear how these scammers managed to plant the ads on Indian government pages or for how long these links were redirecting to the online betting platforms. Consequently, it is not yet clear if the flaw enabling backdoor access to these state government websites has been rectified.

Alerting the Authorities

Upon detecting the issue earlier this week, TechCrunch alerted India’s Computer Emergency Response Team, known as CERT-In, and provided some affected state government website links for reference. The Indian cyber agency acknowledged the email receipt swiftly, and CERT-In confirmed on Thursday that the matter had been escalated.

“We have taken up with the concerned authority for appropriate action,” the agency mentioned in an email response. This incident is not a one-off case. Last June, TechCrunch reported that scammers had published ads for hacking services on U.S. government websites by exploiting a security flaw in the government’s web content management system software.

Implications and Future Measures

This incident underscores the vulnerability of government websites to cyber threats. It highlights the urgency for governments worldwide to take proactive measures to safeguard their digital properties. As technology advances, the nature of online threats is likely to grow more sophisticated, necessitating robust cybersecurity measures to protect sensitive data and preserve public trust in government digital services.