Cryptojacking Scripts Found on Local Indian Government Sites

Municipal government websites in Andhra Pradesh are running cryptojacking scripts, a group of security researchers found earlier this month.

AccessTimeIconSep 17, 2018 at 8:30 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 8:23 a.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global event for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

Official government websites in India ran crypto mining scripts without their owners' knowledge, the Economic Times reported Monday.

Municipal government websites in the state of Andhra Pradesh, among others, were infected by cryptomining software such as Coinhive, security researchers found. Users visiting these websites would then inadvertently mine cryptocurrencies on behalf of the hackers who injected the scripts in the websites originally.

The process is called cryptojacking, as the malicious scripts essentially hijack a user's computer to mine cryptocurrencies.

Security researchers Shakil Ahmed, Anisha Sarma and Indrajeet Bhuyan discovered the vulnerabilities, finding that three of sites running cryptojacking malware belonged to the ap.gov.in subdomain, which sees 160,000 hits every month, according to the report.

Bhuyan told the Times that government websites are popular targets for malicious actors, saying:

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

Andhra Pradesh's IT secretary did not respond to a request for comment from the Times, though the state's IT advisor to the chief minister, JA Chowdary, said "thanks for notifying us about the AP website hacking," on September 10, according to the report.

Despite acknowledging the cryptojacking malware, the websites continued to run the scripts as of September 16, the Times noted.

It is unclear how long each website ran cryptojacking software, or how much cryptocurrency was mined for the attackers.

Stone Buddha image via Shutterstock

Disclosure

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.


Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.