According to news report from Guardian.co.uk, a British computer hacker is jailed for stealing more than 400bn gaming chips from Zynga.
Investigation states that Ashey Mitchell, age 29 years old, has broked into the mainframe of Zynga and stole identity of two employees. The hacker then transferred the chips to his account that is worth about £7m. After the transfer Mitchell then sold the chips to other gaming enthusiats.
Zynga is an online gaming company that popularized Farmville, Mafia Wars, Cityville and others. More than 50 million people spends their day playing Zynga games.
Mitchell, a former council accounts clerk, made £53,612 in two months after selling about a third of the chips.
Zynga has became aware in August 2009 that large quantities of chips were disappering and suspected the two employees whose identities Mitchell had adopted. However, investigators then realised the system had been hacked and narrowed the search to Paignton. Mitchell’s neighbours had their computers seized because he was “piggy-backing” on their unsecured Wi-Fi connections. Mitchell was eventually identified because he used his own Facebook profile during one of his attempts to hack into the system.
According to Mitchell’s Defense Attorney Ben Darby, said the loss to Zynga was impossible to quantify because the chips were virtual and the company could create as many as it wants.
He said Mitchell had enjoyed little benefit and spent most of the proceeds on online gambling on other sites that use real money.
Mitchell admitted computer misuse and four counts of money laundering and asked for 41 similar cases to be considered. He was also sentenced to 30 weeks for breaching a 40-week suspended sentence imposed in 2008 for hacking into the computer system of Torbay council, where he once worked.
Judge Philip Wassall told him: “The dishonesty in this case was substantial and protracted. Online security is a priority for everyone these days.
“You deprived Zynga of income. It is quite clear you used a considerable degree of expertise and persistence to hack into the system.
“It is a considerable aggravating feature that someone hacks into systems in this way when so much business and personal finance is done using electronic means.
“From internet banking to major international transactions, people rely on the security of systems and anyone who comes before the courts who has gone through these security systems from their own ends can expect custody.
* image courtesy of: SXC.hu