A Reuters editor has been indicted in a California district court for allegedly conspiring with the hacker group Anonymous to access and alter a web site of the Tribune Company, his former employer.
Matthew Keys, 26, the deputy social media editor at the news agency, is accused of supplying Anonymous with log-in credentials for a Tribune Company computer server. Keys was a former employee of Sacramento-based TV station KTXL FOX 40, a Tribune company.
Keys could not be reached for comment. A Reuters spokesman said: “I haven’t heard anything about this.”
According to a federal indictment first obtained by the Huffington Post, Keys used a chat site to pass information to Anonymous. Using the name AESCracked, Keys handed over the login credentials and told hackers to “go fuck some shit up”, the indictment says.
The hacker accessed at least one Los Angeles Times story and altered it, the charges say.
The indictment reproduces long sections of a purported chat between Keys and an Anonymous member called “sharpie”.
“That was such a buzz having my edit on the LA Times,” sharpie writes, according to the document.
If convicted, Keys faces up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 for each count.
Keys is charged with one count each 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.
Keys has worked at Reuters just over a year. He has a widespread following on Twitter among journalists.
The Obama administration has a track record of prosecuting hacking cases aggressively. The practice has come under sharp criticism since January, when Internet activist Aaron Swartz committed suicide as federal prosecutors built a hacking case against him.