Somebody Hacked Starbucks' WiFi To Mine Cryptocurrencies

As the values of the largest cryptocurrencies have multiplied this year, so too have reports of digital-currency miners stealing resources to amplify the profitability of their operations.

In Venezuela, where electricity is heavily subsidized by the (crumbling) government, the government’s intelligence agents are ferreting out and jailing people caught mining bitcoin or other digital currencies.

Yesterday, we reported that the world’s largest oil-pipeline company discovered unauthorized digital-currency mining taking place on the company’s hardware.

And today, Cryptocoinsnews pointed out that a Starbucks in Buenos Aires had its wi-fi hacked to force a 10 second delay when connecting so it could mine Monero - currently the world’s 11th largest cryptocurrency - with people’s laptops.

The presence of the CoinHive code was discovered by the chief executive of a New York-based tech company, Noah Dinkin, who noticed something was off when he was connecting to the service. He then used Twitter to share what he found:



Initially, Dinkin believed his laptop was being forced to mine bitcoin, users noted Coinhive only works with Monero, a cryptocurrency optimized for CPU mining that recently hit a new all-time high above $300, and has surged over 1,500% this year so far, according to data from CoinMarketCap.

A few days after Dinkin shared his findings on Twitter, Starbucks responded. The company acknowledged the issue and announced that it’s been resolved.



A spokesperson later on clarified that this wasn’t an isolated incident, and that the problem stemmed from the internet service provider, not Starbucks. Speaking to Motherboard, the spokesperson added that Starbucks hoped to ensure its customers are “able to search the internet over Wi-Fi securely,” and that it’s working with its service provider to remedy the issue.

Earlier this year, CCN reported the Pirate Bay’s efforts to use visitor CPU to mine Monero in order to monetize its traffic and replace the ads on its pages. The torrent index website used Coinhive, a JavaScript code that allows website admins to mine the anonymity-centric cryptocurrency with visitor’s CPUs.

Ever since the Pirate Bay tested Coinhive on its website, various actors started using the code to access other CPUs. The code was even placed on Google Chrome extensions, and on a subscription streaming service called Fight Pass, which exists to stream UFC matches.


PT mpnut Sun, 12/17/2017 - 09:29 Permalink

You know, this clandestine crypto mining thing would explain ALOT.For example, my computer takes too long to start up - even though now I have one that brags "two second start-up".It even takes forever to shut down.Endless "Windows Updates" and "Anti-Virus Updates".Speeds slower than old-fashioned dial-up even though we now "apparently" have the super-duper really "fast" broad-band connection.Unimpressive program execution speeds.I thought it was all due to a bunch of clueless, talentless, unscrupulous, evil, lazy fucktards ...Maybe they ARE all that ... PLUS THEY'RE ALSO MINING CRYPTO-CURRENCIES ON MY COMPUTER ALL THE TIME!!!!!It would explain a lot.Also makes me wonder about those "Apps" that want to borrow your processing power so they can "fold proteins" or "find a cure for cancer".  Sure they do, but why not also mine a few Bitcoins on the side?  HOW WOULD YOU EVER KNOW?

In reply to by mpnut

PT Endgame Napoleon Sun, 12/17/2017 - 09:34 Permalink

Yeah, the phone tells you it is not 4-G.  This ain't an old fashioned light switch we're dealing with.  Phone can say whatever it likes.  Truth does not have to match.  Computer Programmers can program the ones and zeroes in any order they like.  They can make the little coloured dots on the screen into any order they like.  And if they can't do that then they really need to go back to the uni from where they got their "degree" and demand their money back.

In reply to by Endgame Napoleon

quadraspleen Mr. Universe Sat, 12/16/2017 - 16:24 Permalink

Tell me, is that more or less than the $12.3tn of "money" the fed has "printed" with real resources (stolen from your childrens future tax inputs) in its QE bonanza?Is that $12.3tn more or less of a phantom?what did it produce? (clue: the biggest equity bubble the world has ever seen and 50% more debt than the world had in 2007) 

In reply to by Mr. Universe

Greenspazm Sat, 12/16/2017 - 16:21 Permalink

Correction: "As the prices of the largest cryptocurrencies have multiplied this year.."They have zero value as they are all digital nadas unbacked by any tangible assets.

Endgame Napoleon _ConanTheLiber… Sat, 12/16/2017 - 17:40 Permalink

It doesn’t make sense, anyway, because they claim that you need a high-powered computer to mine it, not a MacBook Air in a Starbucks. Did some hacker lug in one of these, plopping it down at the Starbucks counter, with the 10-ton console beside the hip, industrial-chic bar stool?…

In reply to by _ConanTheLiber…

ThanksIwillHav… Sat, 12/16/2017 - 16:26 Permalink

How much coin can be mined in 10 secs x the number of logins?   Seems not useful unless the code keeps running but users don't notice browser using x10, x100 the cpu resources?