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Starbucks iOS App Updated to Secure Personal Information [Updated x2]

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Starbucks has released an update to its iOS app that safeguards customer's personal information stored on the phone. An earlier version of the app saved sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords and location data, in a clear text format. Potential criminals who obtained physical access to a customer's iPhone could download these details with minimal effort.

As announced by Starbucks chief information officer Curt Garner, an updated version of the Starbucks mobile app is available now in the iOS App Store. Though the safeguard measures were not detailed, Garner did confirm that the changes made to app provide "extra layers of protection" for consumers.
As promised, we have released an updated version of Starbucks Mobile App for iOS which adds extra layers of protection. We encourage customers to download the update as an additional safeguard measure.
A followup inquiry by The Verge clarified that the app no longer stores personal data in clear text format. Garner encouraged all Starbucks customers to download the latest version of the company's app.

Version 2.6.2 of Starbucks for the iPhone is available for download from the iOS App Store. [Direct Link]

Update: The App Store appears to now be offering the previous 2.6.1 version of Starbucks. It is unclear why the new version has been pulled from the App Store.

Update 2: The new version 2.6.2 has returned to the App Store.

Top Rated Comments

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Posted: 13 weeks ago
So most likely from the moment the app took usernames and passwords it has stored them in plain text. And now once it became public knowledge it only takes a week or less for an update?

Kind of a dick move for Starbucks to only care about our security once they get caught. Typical, probably. But still dick.
Rating: 7 Positives
Posted: 13 weeks ago

Wait. How is it even possible that a development team that would store passwords in plaintext get hired in the first place, much less by a huge company like Starbucks? This blows my mind as a web developer. :confused:


In this case, the data was being stored as part of an optional Crashlytics clear text crash log file used for debugging.

This is why I dislike ever using someone else's add-on tools. Only trust code you write yourself, or at least vet all the output of the third party tools you're using.
Rating: 4 Positives
Posted: 13 weeks ago
Wait. How is it even possible that a development team that would store passwords in plaintext get hired in the first place, much less by a huge company like Starbucks? This blows my mind as a web developer. :confused:

Here we are talking about agencies and black hats breaking into computers with hardware backdoors / secret zero day exploits / man-on-the-side attacks and there are still people storing passwords in plaintext on the device. Which means that they were probably storing them in plaintext on their servers too.
Rating: 4 Positives
Posted: 13 weeks ago
App store says 2.6.2 for me.

Didn't exactly fear any outbreaks of world domination and no coffee got stolen in the meantime.
Rating: 4 Positives
Posted: 13 weeks ago
As I said in the other thread on this matter: they won't say what they did to improve security, but expect us to trust them like we did before? Once bitten, twice shy :rolleyes:
Rating: 2 Positives
Posted: 13 weeks ago
Attention MacRumors Staff:

This article has two updates on it. Here's a request: PLEASE provide a Date- and Time-Stamp on your article updates.

It is useful to know, for instance, how much time elapsed between when the App update to 2.6.2 was "pulled" and when it re-appeared.

Thank you!
Rating: 2 Positives
Posted: 13 weeks ago
How did this get passed Apple's review process?
Rating: 2 Positives
Posted: 12 weeks ago

A thief is not trying to steal your coffee-buying power. The thief is hoping that you're careless enough to use the same login for more important accounts.


Yeah, that hit me later on :)

Thanks for pointing that out, though!

A good reminder that we should all be careful about repeating passwords across sites.
Rating: 1 Positives
Posted: 13 weeks ago

Was it storing passwords in plain-text, or sending plain-text on the network, or both? I've seen claim that it was both but have no way to be sure.


The Starbucks app itself neither stored nor sent clear text passwords.

The problem was that a third party logging library could store the login HTML page with your username & password embedded in it. (Apparently the Starbucks app saves that info to make multiple usage easier.)

This particular logging occurred if the app crashed on the login screen, or if the app was put into the background while on the login screen, and the phone put to sleep.

Thus if your phone was stolen, the thief could go look at the crash log and probably find your login info. Which they could use to go buy a lot of lattes or something. (Does Starbucks sell anything really expensive? And don't you have to refill its purchasing power once in a while? Not sure.)

Of course, if a thief is actually spending time searching your phone, your coffee login is probably one of the less important pieces of info.

And, does anyone know how it works with the update? Are passwords protected, are the credentials protected in transit, or both ??


Apparently the app was changed to no longer store the username/password in the clear in the login page, so any crash log would not contain the info.

As a side note, the Android version did not need an update.
Rating: 1 Positives
Posted: 13 weeks ago
The original update "What's New" log just mentioned general bug fixes and enhancements. Now the reposted update says, "additional performance enhancements and safeguards." I'm guessing that's why the update disappeared, just to change the change log.

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If they're not sending the user/pass over the wire via HTTPS, and I imagine they aren't, this is really a useless gesture. Unfortunately, storing in plaintext and sending raw passwords over HTTP is the norm and not the exception with apps. Apple should really require higher standards in this regard.

Yes. General users should at least have an easy way to know if their app is doing this.
Rating: 1 Positives

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