According to a Department of Justice press release, Matthew Keys, a 26-year-old prominent social media editor at Reuters, has been indicted for allegedly conspiring with the hacker group Anonymous by providing credentials to a Tribune Company server that led to the defacement of a Los Angeles Times news feature in 2011.
Keys was charged with 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.
A screenshot of the defacement of the article was posted to Reddit when it happened. The Reddit user wrote “Looks like anonymous has gotten into the L.A. Times web site.”
The Anonymous hacker changed the article to the following:
Pressure builds in house to elect CHIPPY 1337.
House Democratic leader Steny Hoyer sees ‘very good things’ in the deal cut which will see uber skid Chippy 1337 take his rightful place, as head of the Senate, reluctant House Democrats told to SUCK IT UP.
By CHIPPYS NO1 FAN
The accused faces up to 25 years in prison and fines of up to $750,000 if convicted.
Check out the full press release:
A former web producer for a Tribune Company-owned television station in Sacramento, Calif., was charged today in an indictment for allegedly conspiring with members of the hacker group “Anonymous” to hack into and alter a Tribune Company website, the Justice Department announced.
Matthew Keys, 26, of Secaucus, N.J., was charged in the Eastern District of California 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 was employed by Sacramento-based television station KTXL FOX 40, as its web producer, but was terminated in late October 2010.
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.”
Each of the two substantive counts carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The conspiracy count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.
The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Sacramento and Los Angeles Field Offices of the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California.
The following is the full indictment: