For several months in 2009, the hacker, named Ashley Mitchell, posed as an administrator for Zynga Poker, which gave him the access he needed to steal the chips. The massive number of chips missing tipped off Zynga to the hack and a sting operation was set up to catch Mitchell.
He pleaded guilty to five hacking charges and the judge says Mitchell will face a long prison sentence, especially since this happened after a suspended sentenced for another hacking crime.
Reports like this naturally make you question the security of your social gaming accounts, and your Facebook account as well. If you're someone who has spent a lot of money to deck out your virtual farm or enhance your poker game, there's no real guarantee that it's safe from hackers. In fact, a few weeks ago, there was a hacking scare in FarmVille, and someone broke into Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook account as well.
It'll be interesting to see how Zynga plans to beef up its security to keep its users virtual items safe -- maybe it's a good time to take notes from Blizzard, which has been dealing with hackers in World of Warcraft and its other online games for years.