Hacker admits stealing Zynga poker chips worth $12 million

Graham Cluley
@gcluley

A British man has admitted hacking into a computer server, and stealing 400 billion poker chips from Zynga, makers of popular social networking games such as FarmVille. The poker chips’ estimated worth? An eye-watering $12 million (£7.4 million).

29-year-old Ashley Mitchell, from Paignton, Devon, admitted hacking into Zynga Poker’s servers and transferring the online poker chips to fake Facebook accounts he had created. The chips were then sold to other online gamblers, for a discounted price.

An Exeter courtroom was told that Mitchell – who runs his own Facebook application called Gambino Poker – netted about £50,000 from the scheme, selling about one-third of the 400 billion chips on the black market. If he had continued it’s estimated he could have made in excess of $290,000 (£184,000).

Mitchell was no stranger to accusations of hacking and details of the Computer Misuse Act, as he was already serving a 40-week suspended prison sentence for illegally breaking into…

Read more in my article on the Naked Security website.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, or drop him an email.

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