Government websites mostly hacked to promote gambling

PHOTO: No, the government isn't endorsing online gambling; it's a hack. (via Medium)

When a government website gets hacked, one might assume it’s an act of cyber warfare or a government opposition protest group. The truth is far less nefarious. The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DES) announced that, out of about 500 cyberattacks on government websites last year, two-thirds of the hacks were to promote online gambling websites.

According to the DES Minister, gambling sites are illegal in Thailand so can’t advertise. But they can increase their site hits by hacking their code into public sites that are legal. Websites belonging to the public sector then inadvertently pump up the gambling site’s number of viewers each time someone looks for services or information on a government website.

According to the minister, educational sites were among the hackers’ main targets among the websites of 20 ministries and private sector bodies, followed by those of public health agencies and local administrative offices.

The hackers focused their attention on private sector websites since these sites were verified by Google, unlike online gambling websites that are prohibited by the government.

The National Cyber Security Agency (NCSA) presented to the Cabinet some solutions to prevent cyberattacks in the short and long term, while also monitoring the solutions of other ministries to address the issue.

The NCSA also contacted Internet providers to get them to remove websites involved in hacking. They sent evidence of cyberattacks by websites. One notable attack in October became part of a case against an online gambling cartel by the Police Cyber Taskforce (PCT).

The PCT suggested admins of websites should be vigilant in checking web security and take swift action against any hint of a hack. Meanwhile, the DES minister warned web users to avoid clicking on any suspicious links they might receive via SMS or email.

The government has worked with search engines to block or delete links to the websites from the hacked public sector websites. The DEC minister assured people that the government is not endorsing illegal gambling.

“When people access some government websites, they might see advertising for online gambling and might think that we promote these sites, which is not true. Hacking government websites is a crime.”

Government websites mostly hacked to promote gambling | News by Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.