Starbucks’ Wi-Fi Found Using People’s Laptops To Mine Monero

Earlier this year CCN reported on 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 starting using the code to take advantage of other people’s CPUs, leading to a Monero mining craze in which the code was even placed on Google Chrome extensions, and on a subscription streaming service called Fight Pass, belonging to mixed martial-arts powerhouse Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

The latest case of an organization using Coinhive’s code to mine Monero with people’s CPUs is that of a Starbucks in Buenos Aires, whose Wi-Fi provider forced a 10 second delay when connecting so it could mine the cryptocurrency with people’s laptops.

The issue was found 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:

Although 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 that 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.


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