Starbucks has been vehemently denying reports that its mobile app for ordering drinks has been hacked. The hack was first uncovered by Bob Sullivan on his blog.
We all know and dread the possibility. We ask ourselves every day, “now that all of our private information is transferred with apps, how safe are we from theft?”
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Sure all of these apps are convenient, but any system can be hacked and we must rely on the various companies to ensure that their systems are protected. Remember what happened to target last year.
According to the original report, hackers found a way to take advantage of the Starbucks auto-reload function to steal hundreds of dollars in a matter of minutes. Sullivan explained that, “because the crime is so simple, can escalate quickly, and the consumer protections controlling the transaction are unclear, I recommend all Starbucks consumers immediately disable auto-reload on the Starbucks mobile payments and gift cards.”
Apparently people simply have their pre-paid credit taken away by the hackers. This happens when someone transfers credit from the app to a gift card.
One victim, Orlando resident Maria Nistri, said that, “It was crazy. I was like, what in the world? I was lucky I happened to check my email when I did, otherwise who knows how much they would have gotten.”
Starbucks, however, has released a statement saying that its app is not to blame for the hacks, but instead, they have happened as the result of mistakes made by the people who use it. The company says, for example, that part of the problem are people who use the same passwords for different things.
The company straight up denied the reports and said that it has safeguards in place to constantly monitor for fraudulent activity and works closely with financial institutions.
“Occasionally, Starbucks receives reports from customers of unauthorized activity on their online account. This is primarily caused when criminals obtain reused names and passwords from other sites and attempt to apply that information to Starbucks. To protect their security, customers are encouraged to use different user names and passwords for different sites, especially those that keep financial information.”
The statement ends with some words of advice for how people can ensure that they are using safe passwords that are hard to break.