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Scammers found placing online gambling ads on Indian government website

Some Indian government websites allow scammers to plant ads that redirect visitors to online gambling platforms.

TechCrunch found around four dozen links to “gov.in” websites related to various Indian states, including Bihar, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Mizoram, and Tyrone Ghana, these links are redirected to online gambling platforms. Some of these sites belong to state police and property tax departments in each state. These scam links are indexed by search engines including Google, making the ads easy to find online.

Dubbed “Asia’s most popular” online betting platform and “India’s number one online cricket betting app”, these redirect sites claim to allow betting on matches, including cricket tournaments such as the Indian Premier League.

It is unclear how scammers placed ads on Indian government pages or how long the links redirected to online gambling platforms.

Image Source: Google/TechCrunch

After discovering the issue earlier this week, TechCrunch alerted India’s Computer Emergency Response Team, or CERT-In, about the lapse and provided links to some affected state government websites for reference.

Soon after, India’s cyber agency acknowledged receipt of the email and confirmed on Thursday that it had escalated the matter.

“We have contacted the appropriate authorities to take appropriate action,” the agency said in an emailed response. It’s unclear whether the flaw that allowed backdoor access to state government websites has been fixed.

Last June, TechCrunch reported that scammers exploited security holes in the government’s Web Content Management System software to advertise hacking services on U.S. government websites. Some of these ads appear to have been online for years.

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