August 13 2007.
NXGN Managing Director Mark Hopkins received a five months sentence at Westminster Magistrates last Thursday, following an earlier hearing where he eventually changed his plea to guilty to charges under the Computer Misuse Act 1990, following a day of evidence.

The five month sentence was suspended for two years, but Hopkins was also ordered to serve 100 hours of community service and pay £5000 compensation to his victim, ME Publishing Limited, the publisher of Motorcycle Trader and its website www.motorcycletrader.net . Hopkins was also ordered to pay £2500 police and prosecution costs.

In September 2005 ME Publishing Limited was advised by its web consultancy that the www.motorcycletrader.net  website had been hacked into illegally and that a large amount of internal information had been downloaded by the hacker. The Motorcycle Trader website and other websites operated by ME Publishing and its associated company Redcat Marketing Services had to be closed down for a number of days while web consultants traced the hacking and assessed the damage.

The web consultants advised ME Publishing that it had traced the hacking to a computer located at the offices of NXGN Limited in Solihul. NXGN is well known in the motorcycle industry for supplying various web services to companies such as Motor Cycle News, British Dealer News, Emap, Datatag, eBike, BMW, Yamaha, Suzuki, Triumph, Aprilia, KTM and over 400 dealers.

NXGN denied hacking into the Motorcycle Trader website and so the web consultants sent a technical report to the Metropolitan Police who investigated and subsequently charged NXGN managing director Mark Hopkins. Hopkins again denied the charge and pleaded not guilty.

The fact that Hopkins eventually changed his plea to guilty proved that he had been lying all along and he had, in fact, hacked into the www.motorcycletrader.net site and downloaded  a large number of pages of information over a number of hours. 

To date, neither Mark Hopkins nor NXGN have explained or apologised to ME Publishing Limited for the hacking, or for lying about it.

The full story and analysis will appear in the next issue of Motorcycle Trader.