Thursday, February 2, 2017

Hackers are draining bank accounts via the Starbucks app

In today’s day and age, personal cyber security has been at the forefront of new technological innovation concerning payment methods for various goods and services. Starbucks has recently developed and implemented the Starbucks mobile app, which is a digital payment method designed to decrease the time waiting in lines. Also, the digital payment is considered to be easy for the user because the mobile app not only lets you pay with your phone at checkout, but also automatically draws funds from consumers’ bank account, PayPal account, and credit card to replenish gift cards. Hackers have found an easy way to steal money from the Starbucks mobile app user’s without getting caught. CNN reported that numerous Starbucks customers have reported having their accounts hacked, and the only reason they noticed was because Starbucks was sending them emails regarding how generous they were with replenishing gift cards. Thieves are able to steal in a matter of seconds by withdrawing the funds on gift cards and having them replenished with hundreds of dollars every few seconds.

I think that implementing digital payment methods at Starbucks is a great idea. Everyone hates waiting in lines, and the creation of the Starbucks mobile app is the perfect solution to this recurring problem. However, Starbucks is doing a horrific job at protecting their consumers using the mobile app. Not only is it incredibly easy for hackers to break into users’ accounts, but they have no monitoring and notification system to let people know when more money is being transferred from their bank accounts to the app and gift cards. Starbucks does not have a two-tiered authentication system, which would automatically send a text message to your phone when your account is signed in on a different device. In addition to not having a more advanced security and verification system, Starbucks never asks for approval to automatically transfer funds into the consumers’ gift cards and verify that the actual user is not a thief.

On the other side of the argument, the users of the app need to utilize easy steps to prevent their accounts from being hacked. For example, a customer mentioned in this article admitted to using the same password for various accounts. Starbucks customers could also erase any payment method history once the transaction is complete which would add another layer of security to their account. While I think that Starbucks needs to enhance their security, consumers need to take personal responsibility for protecting their accounts.

I believe that digitalizing payment through the use of a phone application is a genius idea by Starbucks. However, Starbucks needs to be held accountable for their customers’ accounts being hacked. Also, I am strongly opposed to automatically transferring funds into customers’ accounts without any sort of confirmation. Starbucks should implement a system that will verify transfer requests as well as new accounts. Digital payment has made the consumers’ life much easier, but it cannot come at the cost of personal cyber security.

1 comment:

Bryce Carrasco said...

Bobby, I agree with your analysis in respect to creating an online security system in order to protect online monetary transactions. I think that the idea of implementing online payment options in retail business is a tremendous innovation, but with that being said there is much work to be done to perfect the systems in place currently. There must be innovations in cyber security in order to combat the increasing prevalence of cyber thieves. Programming software has become increasingly complex and skilled computer hackers have been able to slip through the cracks in this system. If security is not prioritized in the online retail space, than the system will be useless and flooded with hackers and increased fraudulent activity. There must be major innovations in detecting fraud and suspicious behavior so that the system can operate as it was intended to.