Feeds

Someone stole your phone? Now they'll have your STARBUCKS password – the horror!

Plaintext logins spark, wait for it, a storm in a C cup

The essential guide to IT transformation

Starbucks has been called out after its smartphone app was caught storing unencrypted passwords on the mobe's file system.

The lazy programming was revealed yesterday by security researcher Daniel Wood after he poked around the expensive warm-milk vendor's iOS application.

The stored plaintext password is used to log into the user's online Starbucks account, whereas the software should have used a cryptographic token or similar, ideally. Anyone who can get their hands on the unencrypted passphrase and user email address could hit the jackpot if the victim uses those details to log into other websites.

Getting one's hands on those credentials isn't a piece of overpriced muffin cake, however. To gather the data, one could connect the victim's iPhone to a desktop computer to access the device's file system, and then retrieve a log file generated by the Starbucks app that sloppily includes unencrypted user account information.

It bears noting that in the event a phone is stolen by an attacker who is able to access and extract data from log files, the sanctity of a Starbucks online loyalty account is well down on a long list of things one should be worried about.

Still, that the US cafe giant would fail to provide basic protections and store customer information in plaintext suggests a lax approach to security.

Shortly after the disclosure of the vulnerability, Starbucks issued a statement confirming the flaw and reporting that the company was moving to address the issue in its mobile app.

"We'd like to be clear: there is no indication that any customer has been impacted by this or that any information has been compromised," the company said in a statement.

"Regardless, we take these types of concerns seriously and have added several safeguards to protect the information you share with us."

The company is also asking users to directly report any believed or suspected account theft or fraud attempts.

The use of encryption to protect customer data is essential as retailers and restaurants develop and deploy mobile payment and rewards services, which store and transfer sensitive information. Companies that fail to take security seriously are simply putting themselves on a road to costly failure. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
Think crypto hides you from spooks on Facebook? THINK AGAIN
Traffic fingerprints reveal all, say boffins
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.