Web designer sentenced for hacking

A British entrepreneur has been given a suspended jail sentence after he stole information from his client's rival website

A British web designer has been given a suspended jail sentence after hacking into a competitor's website.

Mark Hopkins, of Bromsgrove, near Birmingham, pleaded guilty to unauthorised access to computer systems. He was sentenced on Thursday to 20 weeks in custody suspended for two years.

The victim was ME Publishing, which publishes the respected Motorcycle Trader magazine.

ME Publishing found in 2005 that its website had been hacked and a large amount of internal information had been downloaded. A team of web consultants employed by ME Publishing traced the attack to the Solihull office of Hopkins' company, NXGN.

NXGN supplies web services to Motorcycle Trader's rival Motor Cycle News, as well as other well-known sites, including fish4bikes.

NXGN denied hacking into the Motorcycle Trader site, prompting ME Publishing's web consultants to send a technical report to the Metropolitan Police. Hopkins was subsequently arrested for a breach of the Computer Misuse Act.

As well as his suspended sentence, Hopkins will have to serve 100 hours of community service and pay £5,000 compensation, plus £2,500 for police and prosecution costs.

Mark Roberts, of the Met Police Computer Crime Unit, said: "This sentencing is an excellent example of how industry and the police are working together to tackle those who would commit e-crime."


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