The Department of Justice on Thursday afternoon charged Reuters deputy social media editor Matthew Keys for conspiring with the hacker collective Anonymous to attack Tribune Company websites.
The indictment surrounds the hacking of a Los Angeles Times Web page and allegations that Keys gave Anonymous log-in credentials to access Tribune Company servers in December 2010. Keys was a former Tribune Company employee well before his days at Reuters.
Keys has been mentioned in the same breath as Anonymous before and spoken about the matter on his own blog as well as on Reuters, as BuzzFeed first reported.
Keys was identified as AESCracked in a 2012 book about Anonymous books.google.com/books?id=ncGVP…
— Stefan Becket (@stefanjbecket) March 14, 2013
Keys spoke to Adweek last July about his decision to quit Twitter, where he is undoubtedly a central news source for many journalists. He described his relentless presence on the Internet and social media as an obsession at times, which led to subsequent burnout. In the interview, Keys also spoke about his proficiency exploring unchartered areas of the Internet to break news, noting of his work, “there’s a person digging through code on a website to look for interesting nuggets. There's a person Googling keywords to find ‘hidden’ videos and photos on websites.”
According to a statement from the DOJ:
“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.’”
Here is the indictment in its entirety, as filed in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of California. If convicted, Keys could face up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $750,000.