Industry News

Developers Hack McDonald’s Reward System to Get Free Hamburgers

A couple of German software developers discovered an oversight in McDonalds’ promotion systems that allowed them to get as many hamburgers as they wanted, without paying anything.

While software vulnerabilities or loopholes are sometimes used for nefarious purposes, that’s not always the case. The same can be said of white hackers and software developers who want to make the online world a safer place.

McDonald’s has a promotions systems that offers rewards for some orders, which is not out of the ordinary. But, according to a Vice report, a couple of developers found the code behind the promotion system could be exploited in a way that would allow them to get pretty much anything from the fast-food chain.

Their first attempt was in Berlin. They generated a €17 voucher, placed an online order, and got the OK. The two developers didn’t want to pick it up initially, but they eventually went to the store and explained the situation. Surprisingly, the manager said that they should take the order. They tried again, in another restaurant, in Hamburg, for 15 burgers, and it worked. But they notified the manager and canceled the order before it was prepared.

Eventually, they contacted customer service in an attempt to notify the company about the hack, but that didn’t work. Vice contacted McDonald’s on behalf of the two developers, but the company didn’t acknowledge the problem. The problem was ultimately fixed, and the developers even received a reward from McDonald’s for their efforts.

About the author


Silviu is a seasoned writer who followed the technology world for almost two decades, covering topics ranging from software to hardware and everything in between. He's passionate about security and the way it shapes the world, in all aspects of life. He's also a space geek, enjoying all the exciting new things the Universe has to offer.