Ashley Mitchell, the British Zynga Poker hacker, could face jail after pleading guilty to charges under the Computer Misuse Act and the Proceeds from Crime Act in Exeter Crown Court last week. Mitchell, from Devon, admitted to stealing over 400 billion virtual online poker chips from the Facebook application, Zynga Poker, which he intended cashing in using fake accounts at the popular social network site.
Between June and September 2009 Mitchell is alleged to have posed as an administrator on the Zynga Poker servers, allowing him to steal billions of virtual online poker chips with a market value of approximately £7.4 million. However, he only managed to cash in £53,000 worth of his bounty before he was apprehended.
Due to the enormous numbers of poker chips that Mitchell was stealing, Zynga bosses quickly identified that something wasn’t right and therefore set up a sting operation to catch the thief red handed. It was during this successful sting operation and the following investigations that the size of Mitchell’s scam became apparent, going down as one of the biggest heists in poker history.
However, this isn’t the first time the hacker from Devon has been caught stealing online. Mitchell has already faced charges for stealing £2,000 from a previous local authority employer in 2008. He accessed the computer network of Torbay Council and warded himself a cash payout
The story of Ashley Mitchell, the Zynga Poker hacker has certainly raised the eye-opening security issues with online poker and other gambling games that are played through your Facebook account. If you want to play online poker at a site offering industry-leading security then head over to William Hill Poker, that uses a number of encryption and security devices to make your online poker experience a safe one, employing SSL technology to encrypt your information before it is sent over the Internet.