This was eventually identified by Noah Dinkin, chief executive of a New York-based technology company. While at the cafe he was alerted to the issue by experiencing a delay before he was able to access the internet. The took to twitter alerting Starbucks to what he found.
Hi @Starbucks @StarbucksAr did you know that your in-store wifi provider in Buenos Aires forces a 10 second delay when you first connect to the wifi so it can mine bitcoin using a customer's laptop? Feels a little off-brand.. cc @GMFlickinger pic.twitter.com/VkVVdSfUtT
— Noah Dinkin (@imnoah) December 2, 2017
He also noted that, “this was observed by a friend and I in three separate Starbucks stores in Buenos Aires over multiple days following my original tweet, that week, it wasn’t just one store”.
Starbucks did reply saying that, “As soon as we were alerted of the situation in this specific store last week, we took swift action to ensure our internet provider resolved the issue and made the changes needed in order to ensure our customers could use Wi-Fi in our store safely.”
As with many Starbucks locations, the WiFi service is outsourced by a third-party provider, so Starbucks does not own or control the WiFi network. Starbucks says this is an isolated incident and that the rest of their stores are safe.