Hackers Hit Indian Govt Websites With Cryptojacking Malware

Researchers found that hundreds of Indian government websites have been infected with cryptocurrency mining malware.

The Indian government may not be keen on Bitcoin, but their websites are surreptitiously being used by hackers to mine cryptocurrencies, security researchers found.

The local news source The Economic Times reports that several citizen portals, including the Tirupati Municipal Corporation, municipal administration of Andhra Pradesh (AP), and Macherla municipality, have been found to be infected with cryptojacking malware.

“Hackers target government websites for mining cryptocurrency because those websites get high traffic and mostly people trust them,” explained security researcher Indrajeet Bhuyan. “Earlier, we saw a lot of government websites getting defaced (hacked). Now, injecting cryptojackers is more fashionable as the hacker can make money.”

Cryptojacking allows cybercriminals to steal the processing power of victims’ computers to mine cryptocurrencies. This is accomplished by tricking victims into clicking on malicious, seemingly harmless links, or by inserting JavaScript code into websites which then auto-executes once it is loaded in the victim’s browser. Crypto mining malware has seen a huge surge in popularity, and has displaced ransomware attacks as a favored criminal activity.

When contacted by Indian media, JA Chowdary (IT advisor to AP’s Chief Minister) offered the following comment on the situation:

“Thanks for notifying us about the AP website hacking.”

Cryptojacking in India is steadily on the rise; source code search engine PublicWWW lists more than 119 Indian websites which are infected with cryptojacking malware.

Meanwhile, the Indian government maintains an ambivalent – bordering on hostile – stance towards crypto. The Reserve Bank of India has banned banks from providing services to crypto businesses, but an unnamed official recently revealed that the country is not looking to ban cryptocurrencies altogether. In addition, the Indian central bank has also confirmed that it is working on a state-backed digital currency to reduce costs associated with physical money and to stay abreast of the global digital currency trend.