It turns out that a few days ago, a user detected an anomaly within the Wi-Fi network of one of the cafeterias of the Starbucks chain of stores, discovering that it was an algorithm that secretly used all the devices of the clients that used this free connection to “Mine” cryptocurrencies.
This problem was detected last December 2 by the user Noah Dinkin, CEO of the security company, Stensul, who published a tweet where through an image and brief explanation shows what the Internet provider used by the company was doing with the computers of the clients that occupied the WiFi.
Hi @Starbucks @StarbucksAr 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? Feels a little off-brand.. cc @GMFlickinger pic.twitter.com/VkVVdSfUtT
— Noah Dinkin (@imnoah) December 2, 2017
According to Dinkin explains, the WiFi network introduced a delay of 10 seconds when the user was connected for the first time. Time it took to move or extract cryptocurrencies, which in this case was about Monero, causing users’ computers to suffer from poor performance making them slower and consuming more energy.
Although the problem directly affected the customers of Starbucks and several media began accusing the company of laptop hijacking (a term used when the process of another computer is occupied without permission for the benefit of another) Starbucks has answered by apologizing and clarifying that they they do not have control of the network since the network service is provided by a third company.
As soon as we were alerted of the situation in this specific store last week, we took swift action to ensure our internet provider resolved the issue and made the changes needed in order to ensure our customers could use Wi-Fi in our store safely.
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) December 11, 2017
We must remember that this illicit method of “mineo” has begun to popularize due to the recent success of cryptocurrency, whose value has skyrocketed in recent weeks and have become the focus of attention for thousands of people.
On the other hand, The Pirate Bay and Showtime are two cases that have resorted to this activity, where the first has declared that it did resort to said activity, arguing that the “mineo” could be the option to advertise on the pages, while that in the case of the Showtime site, they gave up this activity at the same time they argued that they had been hacked.