Online Betting Ads Discovered on Indian Government Websites, Traced Back to Scammers

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Title: Scammers Exploit Indian Government Websites to Promote Online Betting Platforms


In a troubling revelation, it has been discovered that scammers have managed to plant advertisements on various Indian government websites, redirecting visitors to online betting platforms. This shocking development sheds light on the vulnerabilities of government websites and the potential risks they pose to unsuspecting users. This article will discuss the details of this incident, the potential implications, and the steps that need to be taken to avoid such security breaches in the future.

The Discovery

TechCrunch, a leading technology news site, recently uncovered around four dozen “” website links associated with Indian states that were redirecting users to online betting platforms. These websites included those belonging to state police, property tax departments, and other government agencies. The alarming fact is that the scammy links were easily discoverable through search engines like Google, bringing them to the attention of numerous internet users.

The Scam

The websites that visitors were redirected to were described as “Asia’s most popular” online betting platform and “the number one online cricket betting app in India.” These platforms purportedly allowed users to place bets on various events, including cricket tournaments like the Indian Premier League. With cricket being an extremely popular sport in India, scammers have taken advantage of the public’s interest to increase their chances of reaching a large number of potential victims.

The Modus Operandi

It remains unclear how scammers managed to plant these deceptive ads on Indian government websites or for how long the links were redirecting users to the betting platforms. However, considering that the ads were indexed by search engines, it suggests that they were active for a significant amount of time before being brought to the attention of TechCrunch.

TechCrunch’s Response

As soon as TechCrunch discovered this security flaw, they promptly contacted India’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In). They alerted the agency about the issue and provided them with a list of affected state government website links as references. CERT-In acknowledged the receipt of the email and, on Thursday, confirmed that the matter had been escalated.

The Agency’s Response

In their email response, CERT-In stated, “We have taken up with the concerned authority for appropriate action.” However, it is unclear whether the vulnerability that allowed backdoor access to state government websites has been resolved. This lack of clarity highlights the pressing need for a comprehensive investigation into the matter and the implementation of stronger cybersecurity measures.

Past Incidents and Wider Implications

This is not the first time that scammers have exploited vulnerabilities in government websites. In June of last year, TechCrunch reported similar activities involving the planting of ads for hacking services on U.S. government websites. These incidents serve as a clear reminder that no website, regardless of its affiliation, is immune to security breaches. The repercussions of such breaches can be far-reaching and damaging, impacting not only the government’s reputation but also the trust and privacy of citizens who visit these websites.

Addressing the Issue

To prevent future incidents like this, there are several crucial steps that Indian government bodies and organizations must take:

1. Conduct Regular Security Audits: Regular security audits should be carried out on government websites to identify and address vulnerabilities promptly. These audits can help in staying ahead of potential threats and ensure the safety of visitors.

2. Implement Robust Cybersecurity Protocols: It is imperative to have strong cybersecurity protocols in place to protect government websites. This includes regular updates and patches for web content management systems, firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and encryption measures to safeguard sensitive data.

3. Employee Awareness and Training: Government employees must receive comprehensive cybersecurity training to recognize phishing attempts, suspicious links, and potential security threats. By raising awareness and educating staff members, the government can enhance its overall security posture.

4. Collaboration with Cybersecurity Experts: Collaborating with cybersecurity experts and leveraging their expertise can help identify vulnerabilities and recommend necessary changes to fortify government websites against potential attacks.

5. Response and Recovery Plans: Government agencies should develop effective response and recovery plans to mitigate, contain, and rectify any security breaches. These plans should be regularly tested to ensure their effectiveness.


The alarming discovery that scammers could exploit Indian government websites to promote online betting platforms calls for immediate action. The responsible agencies must take swift steps to investigate the breach, address the vulnerabilities, and ensure the security of government websites. Additionally, it is crucial for the government to learn from these incidents and implement stringent cybersecurity measures to protect sensitive information and instill trust among the public. By doing so, the Indian government can maintain the sanctity of its websites and secure its digital infrastructure for the benefit of all its citizens.

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