A hacker from the UK has pleaded guilty to stealing 400 billion virtual poker chips from online gaming firm, Zynga, reports The BBC.
Exeter Crown Court heard how Ashley Mitchell stole the chips and laundered them through several different accounts on content generation site, Facebook, so that his crime would go undetected.
Zynga failed to notice that from June to September 2009, Mitchell was posing as an administrator on their site, in order to gain access to poker game computer systems. Once Mitchell had gained admin rights, he was able to manipulate the values. He would then steal the chips and sell them on. He managed to syphon off $12 million (£7.4 million) worth of chips but only accessed £53,000 before he was finally caught.
Security experts said in Computer Weekly that the chips were “merely values in a database” which should have been more closely monitored. Zynga, they say, could then have tracked access to the databases and been alerted to any unusual behaviour.
Mitchell, who was already on a suspended sentence for an earlier hacking attack on local council computers, admitted to becoming “obsessed” with Zynga and pleaded guilty to five charges under the Computer Misuse Act and the Proceeds from Crime act. He is being held in custody before sentencing at a later date. The BBC quoted Judge Philip Wassall, who said the sentence would be “lengthy.”