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Hacker nets two years in jail after pilfering £7 million in virtual poker chips

Vlad Savov
03.23.11
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Crime, it just doesn't pay. Well, actually it does, to the tune of £53,612, but then you get caught and you have to work off that salary with two years at Her Majesty's pleasure. One Ashley Mitchell, an enterprising 29-year old from Devon, England, managed to break into Farmville maker Zynga's mainframe, hijack the identities of two of its staffers, and procure for himself a cool £7 million ($11.4m) in virtual poker chips. He then proceeded to sell about a third of them for the above sum, while consuming a big chunk of the rest in satisfying his own gambling habit. Ashley already had a history of digital malfeasance, having previously hacked into the systems of Torbay Council, his former employer, and is now on the receiving end of a two-year prison term for his current crime plus the activation of a 30-week suspended sentence. There's a warning in this tale of woe for us all, however -- Monsieur Mitchell piggybacked on his neighbors' unsecured WiFi networks in order to do his dastardly deeds. Slap a password on that router, won't you?

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