Matthew Keys, the deputy social media editor at Reuters in Sacramento, was indicted today for allegedly working with members of the hacktivist group Anonymous to help the anti-government organization hack into the LA Times and alter a news story.
According to the Department of Justice, the 26-year-old journalist and prolific tweeter was charged with one count of conspiracy to transmit information to damage a protected computer, transmitting information to damage a protected computer, and attempted transmission of information to damage a protected computer.
See Also: An Open Letter to Anonymous
The three-count indictment alleges that in December 2010 Keys provided members of the hacker group Anonymous with enough log-in credentials to a computer server belonging to KTXL FOX 40's corporate parent, the Tribune Company. Keys identified himself on an Internet chat forum as a "former Tribune Company employee and provided members of Anonymous with a login and password to the Tribune Company server."
After providing log-in credentials, Keys allegedly encouraged Anonymous members to "disrupt the website." The indictment states that at least one of the computer hackers used these logins to access the Tribune Company server, and made changes to the web version of a Los Angeles Times news feature.
Per the indictment:
Keys had a conversation with the hacker who claimed credit for the defacement of the Los Angeles Times website. The hacker allegedly told Keys that Tribune Company system administrators had thwarted his efforts and locked him out. Keys allegedly attempted to regain access for that hacker, and when he learned that the hacker had made changes to a Los Angeles Times page, Keys responded, "nice."
If convicted, Keys faces up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 for each count. The indictment also contains a notice of forfeiture provision for property traceable to the offense.
Read the full indictment: