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:
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
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.