The deputy social media editor of Reuters was indicted by the Justice Department Thursday for allegedly conspiring with the hacker group Anonymous to disrupt a Tribune Company website.
Matthew Keys, 26, was fired from a Sacramento TV station owned by the Tribune Company in December 2010, and two months later “gained access to an Anonymous chat room and proceeded to provide the group with passwords to Tribune’s computer system,” Gawker reported.
The Department of Justice issued a press release Thursday explaining the charges:
The three-count indictment alleges that in December 2010 Keys provided members of the hacker group Anonymous with log-in credentials for a computer server belonging to KTXL FOX 40’s corporate parent, the Tribune Company. According to the indictment, 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 the Anonymous members to disrupt the website. According to the indictment, at least one of the computer hackers used the credentials provided by Keys to log into the Tribune Company server, and ultimately that hacker made changes to the web version of a Los Angeles Times news feature.
The indictment further alleges that 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.”
The Tribune Company also owns the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune.
Keys could face a 25 year prison sentence and $250,000 fine if convicted of the charges.
Interestingly, Keys is tweeting articles about his indictment and insisting he “is fine.”
Keys tweeted Thursday evening:
Matthew Keys @ TheMatthewKeys I am fine. I found out the same way most of you did: From Twitter. Tonight I’m going to take a break. Tomorrow, business as usual.