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Hackers Unlock Starbucks App to Siphon Coffee Drinkers' Cash

Image: Hackers Unlock Starbucks App to Siphon Coffee Drinkers' Cash
(Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 14 May 2015 09:10 AM

Hackers are infiltrating Starbucks' smartphone app and stealing from customers by hijacking their credit cards, and now consumers are asking the coffee company to up their security measures.

According to Yahoo Finance, the Starbucks app asks users to link their credit card so they can load money into the digital gift card feature and mobile payment system.

The trouble comes when hackers are able to crack a user's weak password, and proceed to buy digital gift cards for themselves.

CNN Money reported that Kristi Overton experienced such a hack on Monday morning. She was at work — an auto body shop in Alabama — when her phone began sending her alerts. A hacker had stolen $115 by turning on her auto-reload setting, and then siphoning the cash away once the digital gift card was loaded.

"I think it's too easy to dip into someone's bank account," she said. "The Starbucks app's security measures need to be updated."

Maria Nistri, 48, was also victimized by hackers last week. In just seven minutes, hackers broke into her Starbucks account, and repeatedly loaded and drained her account. Adding insult to injury, Nistri received an automated email alert when it happened, telling her that her password had been changed. The email instructed Nistri to call customer service if the change wasn't authorized by her.

Nistri called the number, but an automated message said she'd have to wait until 8 a.m. to talk to a real live person.

"Whoever did this knew the right time to do it," she explained.

Gavin Reid, an executive with cybersecurity firm Lancope, said that Starbucks could be doing a lot more to protect its customers. Services like Gmail, Twitter, and LinkedIn all offer two-step authentication, which sends a text or email to you whenever your account is accessed from a new device. A simple measure like this would have stopped many of Starbucks' hacked customers, he said.

The Starbucks app made headlines last year when it was discovered that the company had been storing customer passwords in plain text, instead of encrypting them.

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Hackers are infiltrating Starbucks' smartphone app and stealing from customers by hijacking their credit cards, and now consumers are asking the coffee company to up their security measures.
hackers, unlock, starbucks, app
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2015-10-14
Thursday, 14 May 2015 09:10 AM
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