Starbucks Wi-Fi Turned People’s Laptops into Cryptocurrency Miners

Noah Dinkin, CEO of Stensul, discovered that the Starbucks Wi-Fi provider was hijacking his laptop to mine a digital currency.

The hidden miner was found in a Starbucks coffee shop located in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The wireless network provided by the company was injecting the mining code onto customer computers in order to generate digital currency.

Dinkin tweeted at Starbucks after identifying the mining code. “Did you know that your in-store wifi provider in Buenos Aires forces a 10 second delay when you first connect to the wifi so it can mine bitcoin using a customer’s laptop?” Dinkin wrote. “Feels a little off-brand.”

Starbucks spokesperson Reggie Borges explained this was just an isolated case, and it’s not happening in all stores.

“Last week, we were alerted to the issue and we reached out to our internet service provider—the Wi-Fi is not run by Starbucks, it’s not something we own or control. We want to ensure that our customers are able to search the internet over Wi-Fi securely, so we will always work closely with our service provider when something like this comes up. We don’t have any concern that this is widespread across any of our stores,” he said.

But Dinkin disagreed on the latter point. “This was observed by a friend and I in three separate Starbucks stores in Buenos Aires over multiple days following my original tweet, that week,” he wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. “It wasn’t just one store.”



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