A popular spam message is actually from the Government!
This a spam “Dear Customer, As per Govt of India’s Cyber Swachhta Kendra, your device(s) linked to this contact number is probably infected with botnet malware. You are requested to visit https://www.csk.gov.in for more information.”
Many mobile users are getting the message that their devices connected with their phone numbers could probably be infected by botnet malware. Along with this message an URL is provided for “https://www.csk.gov.in”.
This message has been a cause for concern among the users and many wondered if this could be a spam and the site could be impersonating a government website. Many users on social media sites were trying to get their doubts answered by fellow users, fact-checkers and some technical experts.
What’s the truth ?
In our fact-check, we have found that the message is indeed from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology of the Union Government. The CSK in the website URL csk.gov.in stands for “Cyber Swachhta Kendra” (CSK) which is the Indian Government’s centre to fight botnets.
The “Botnet Cleaning and Malware Analysis Centre” (Cyber Swachhta Kendra) uses various tools to figure out infected devices with their phone numbers and sends the users a text message to visit their site to find out how they can safeguard their devices.
Many users have received the message and were panicking that it could be a malicious site because the URL resembled Chennai Super Kings, a franchise team in the widely popular Indian Premier League, cricket tournament.
Every time there is a messaging drive from CSK, there have been a flurry of doubtful tweets from Netizens and during such an event in April 2022, the Press Information Bureau has fact-checked and published that this is a legitimate message from the Government.
Yes! Cyber Swachhta Kendra was launched by the Government of India for the analysis of malware & botnets that affect networks and systems.
It is a part of the @GoI_MeitY Digital India initiative aimed at creating a secure cyberspace by detecting botnet infections#PIBFactCheck pic.twitter.com/GvHr3wd8Jl
— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) April 7, 2022
Now in late August and early September, a similar wave of messaging has taken place on behalf of CSK. When users were wondering about the legitimacy of the texts, Sunny Nehra, an ethical hacker, explained in a Twitter thread how Cyber Swachhta Kendra works and how users get these text messages.
And if you wondering why you got this message or how govt found that your device(s) infected, kindly go through this thread 👇🧵 https://t.co/yrKRN7cqlp
— Sunny Nehra (@sunnynehrabro) August 26, 2022
The Cyber Swachhta Kendra (CSK)was launched by the Union Government on February 21, 2017. The word ‘Botnet’ is derived from combining the words “Robot” and “Network”. A trojan virus is sent to a number of users at the same time and once their devices are infected, the devices can be used in a coordinated manner to perform any malicious task that the hacker intends.
Mobile users need not panic when they receive the message as they are not in any imminent threat. However, it is advisable to click the link “https://www.csk.gov.in” and download any one of the tools provided in the “Downloads” section to scan our devices and remove any malwares, viruses that may be infecting their devices.
We found that the message that users are getting regarding the Cyber Swachhta Kendra (CSK) is legitimate and it is from the Union Government’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. CSK is a centre launched by the Government to safeguard users from malicious attacks.