Reuters deputy social media editor indicted for conspiring with Anonymous hackers

Posted at 8:33 PM, Mar 14, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-14 20:33:04-04

Matthew KeysNEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Reuters’ popular social media editor, Matthew Keys, has been caught up in shocking allegations: The government has charged him with conspiring with hacker group Anonymous to hack into the network of the Tribune Co., his former employer.

A grand jury in California indicted Keys on Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced. A hacker known as “Sabu” — a former Anonymous member who notoriously became an FBI informant after his arrest last year — provided the government with the information to indict Keys.

The complaint says Keys, 26, was fired in October 2010 from his job as a web producer at Tribune-owned California station KTXL FOX 40 (which is a CNN affiliate). Two months later, the government says, he gave members of Anonymous the log-in credentials for a computer server at Tribune.

The Tribune Co. declined to comment. Reuters did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Keys allegedly posted to Anonymous members in an online chat urging them to “go f— some s— up” with his login credentials. According to the indictment, at least one of the hackers used the credentials he provided to log into the company’s server and alter a news story on the Los Angeles Times website.

The documents include the log of an alleged online chat between Keys and an Anonymous member nicknamed “Sharpie,” who detailed accessing the Tribune server to alter the LA Times story. “Sharpie” turned out to be “Sabu,” the hacker who turned informant, whose real name is Hector Xavier Monsegur.

The Justice Department has charged Keys with three counts related to transmitting information to damage a “protected computer.”

If Keys is convicted, the DOJ said, for each of the three counts he could face up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.

Last year, Keys wrote about chatting with members of Anonymous, and he provided logs to media outlets like Gawker and PBS.