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Ever since it was reported that the most notorious of all torrent websites, The Pirate Bay, was using its visitors’ laptops to mine cryptocurrencies, many other people have been taking advantage of this as well. CCN reported that the website used its visitors’ computers to mine the Monero digital currency in an attempt to make profit of their heavy traffic as well replace the ads that existed on their webpages. The report stated that the website used a JavaScript code named Coinhive for the mining. This code allowed website administrators to mine the Monero digital currency with the CPUs of their visitors without their knowledge.
Unfortunately, this turned out to be true. Since then, several people have started using this same code for the same purpose of taking advantage of others’ CPUs without their knowledge and then mining cryptocurrencies. This led to an entire mining rush for the cryptocurrency, so much as to even get the code added to the streaming service called Fight Pass and even extensions on the Google Chrome browser platform. Now the case is even bigger than it ever was. Starbucks, the most beloved coffee shop in all America, is being accused of using its customers’ laptops to mine Monero over its Wi-Fi connection.

Starbucks-monero saga

Guilty Or Not Guilty

A Starbucks in Bueno Aires has been found to be using its customers’ laptops to mine Monero while the people try to connect to Starbucks’ Wi-Fi network. This was discovered by Noah Dinkin who is an executive at a Tech firm based in New York City. He noticed that there was an unusual ten seconds delay when he tried connecting to the Wi-Fi network over there. A couple of days later, Starbucks acknowledged that the issue actually was true and that they were working on a way to resolve it.
Later on, one of spokesperson theirs threw further light on the matter; saying that it wasn’t a general problem but an isolated one that came from their ISP and not Starbucks themselves. Their staff person stated that Starbucks had amongst its priorities, making its customers “able to search the internet over Wi-Fi securely,” and thus there were working resolving the problem.

Safety Over Public Networks

One cybersecurity expert, Don Smith, stated while speaking to BBC that this kind of situation only sent one message; that public Wi-Fi users should always ensure that they were rolling on the latest version of software for the devices, as well as keep an eye for any suspicious activities over such networks. This was what he had to say

“Always be wary when connecting to untrusted networks, public Wi-Fi hotspots are untrusted to you even if they are provided by a trusted brand (…) Indeed, connecting to these networks gives the provider an ability to intercept your communications. However, we should not scaremonger unnecessarily, these can be useful services and the abuse of these services is definitely the exception not the rule.”

Not long after, Dinkin stated in a follow up tweet that the code found for the mining of Monero on the Starbucks Wi-Fi network wasn’t only in one place but in multiple Starbucks locations and over a period of days and not just one. What bothered him was the fact that the Terms of Service for the internet service provision did not say anything about the mining of Monero.

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