Investigators and cybersecurity experts in India are desperately trying to find out how the bookies have been managing to hack into the live feed of IPL matches from venue to the provider during the uplink process.
In May of 2018, Indore police apprehended a betting syndicate that was receiving and distributing live feeds of IPL matches. The main thing to notice here is a live feed is 8-10 seconds ahead of the live TV; meaning what you see on your TV live is 8-10 seconds behind what is happening in the match.
Live pictures get delayed according to the standard process, as they are uploaded during stages via satellite to the cable or DTH service providers and then, end up on the TV screens.
“As they were getting live feed before it appeared on TV sets, which was 8-10 seconds ahead of live telecast, it is likely that they were not only manipulating the odds in online betting during the matches but also providing this feed to other persons, who were betting on the matches through apps”, Jitender Singh, superintendent of police, Cyber Crime Branch of Indore Police, told TheWire.in.
A senior engineer working for Star cricket’s broadcast team said that the broadcaster uplinks the live feed signal to the satellite in scrambled form. A 12-digit BISS code is needed to unscramble the feed is required to unscramble the feed and it keeps changing automatically every 10-15 minutes.
“Still, someone cracked this code and stole the feed. Arrested bookies told us they were getting this live feed from another bookie based in Dubai. This is a very challenging case for us. Our experts and engineers of the official broadcaster of the IPL, Star TV, are working together to find how the bookies have been able to steal the BISS (Basic Interoperable Scrambling System Code) code so easily,” said Singh, who is heading the team of investigators in this case.
An Enforcement Directorate (ED) investigation into IPL 2015 betting uncovered that people involved in it use hawala money in order to obtain passwords and carry transactions on betting websites, as betting in India is illegal and citizens cannot do online transactions of such sites legally.
The Ahmedabad Branch of ED had uncovered a Rs 2,000 crore betting racket and hacking of live feed was found to be involved.
The charge sheet in the case, still under court proceedings, reads: “They (bookies) used to install their antenna gadgets in a room for receiving live telecast on the ongoing matches. For cricket betting operations they were use special decoders which give them live streaming without any breakup on account of advertisements and they were able to have advantage of around 5 to 10 second. The annual payment for three decoders which were being used by them was Rs 65,000 and provided by one Sanjay of Delhi.”
In the Indore case, the alleged kingpin of the racket is one Amit Majithia, who is based in Adipur in Gujarat’s Kutch. But during the raids, he was operating from Dubai and he is still there. A look-out notice has been issued against him and two other accused.