Two years in jail for Zynga poker hacker

Filed Under: Facebook, Law & order, Social networks

zynga poker
29-year-old Ashley Mitchell has received two years in a UK slammer after being found guilty of hacking into a computer server, and stealing 400 billion (yes, BILLION) virtual poker chips from Zynga, makers of popular social networking games such as zyngapoker, FarmVille and MafiaWars.

The poker chips' estimated worth? An eye-watering $12 million (£7.4 million).

So, if my basic maths are right, for every bag of a billion chips, worth about $30,000, he gets two days in jail. As the chips are virtual, I guess Zynga can always create more at the touch of a button.

Ashley Mitchell

Driven to fuel his £1,000-a-day gambling habit, the ex-council clerk from Devon transferred the online poker chips to a number of Facebook accounts he had created and sold the chips to poker lovers at a fraction of the price.

Mitchell made just over £50,000 from selling a third of the chips. Had he continued, it's estimated he could have made in excess of $290,000 (£184,000).

According to The Guardian, Prosecuter James Taghdissian said Zynga became aware that large amounts of chips were disappearing. Investigators eventually realised the company's systems had been hacked and narrowed the search to Paignton, Devon.

Mitchell piggy-backed on his neighbours' unsecured WiFi connections to help obfuscate his identity, which led to the authorities seizing their computers.

Mitchell was eventually caught because he accidentally used his own Facebook profile during one of his attempts to hack into the system.

Photo source of Ashley Mitchell: rackrace.com

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12 Responses to Two years in jail for Zynga poker hacker

  1. Chamberly Bright · 1273 days ago

    Well he wouldn't be the only one. I'm sure he would also show someone how to do it. Like some hacker would like to share.

  2. "Mitchell was eventually caught because he accidentally used his own Facebook profile during one of his attempts to hack into the system."

    Made me laugh anyway...

  3. tom · 1272 days ago

    Well, atleast Zynga and their offer providers like offerpal didn't have to pay their customers back for fraudulent cell phone charges (aka Scamville). Guess you have to be incorporated in order to rip people off.

    Redonk.

  4. HHH · 1132 days ago

    The numbers are wrong. At Zynga 1 million is sold for about $1, so 1 billion is $1000, and 400 billion is $400,000. This is a rough calculation, but the man did not steal $12 million worth of chips.

  5. adi · 1118 days ago

    The numbers are wrong. At Zynga 1 million is sold for about $1, so 1 billion is $1000, and 400 billion is $400,000. This is a rough calculation, but the man did not steal $12 million worth of chips.

  6. Mian · 1103 days ago

    its a fake story made by zynga officials to prevent others from stealing!

  7. nicky · 936 days ago

    serves the fkr right. our accounts at home are getting hacked every week. bloody sick of it, and the ammount of stress someone like this causes. he sould be banned from using pc's.

    • kevin · 912 days ago

      my account also got hacked, they pretend from zynga sending friend request to give bonus hundred millions chips, but this is fake request to lead you to the phising apps at facebook. If you already got hacked, it cannot be healed at zynga server, you need to remove zynga poker apps from your facebook, then create new facebook profile, start with the new one, and secure your facebook password with cellphone authorization.

  8. Anon · 930 days ago

    lol Nicky you should be banned from using PC's until you learn how to spell

  9. Tony Stark · 739 days ago

    zynga iitself is actually the hacker. yet, no comment from the official

  10. Love Guruu · 622 days ago

    I want to report spam on zynga poker because my account is in suspension notice with out any reason and my friend's dad's account was in the same condition with 700 m some thing in it ! I want to kick zynga people for suspending my account with out any reason or i need a proof why was my account suspended !

  11. wayne · 554 days ago

    I had nearly half a billion chips taken off me because they said i broke the terms of service ....i'm not a hacker i just won a lot of chips and when i tried to get them back i just got the same answer, they said i had to agree that i cheated and they would start me off from a million chips. This is robbery! Zynga should be locked up in this case!

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About the author

Hi. I am a social, brand and communications expert with 10 years in senior roles in the tech space. I'm currently Sophos' s Global Director of Social Media and Communities. Proudest work achievement? Creating and launching award-winning Naked Security. Outside work, I am a mean cook, an avid reader, a chronic insomniac, a podcast obsessive and blogger .