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Reuters Journalist Matthew Keys Charged With Conspiring With Anonymous In Hacking Case

Reuters journalist Matthew Keys has been indicted by a Federal Grand Jury in California on charges associated with his alleged collaboration with the hacker group Anonymous:

WASHINGTON — Web producer Matthew Keys, 26, has been charged by the Justice Department in connection with an attack on the website of his former employer by the group Anonymous.

Keys is currently a deputy social media editor at Thomson Reuters.

The Justice Department indictment says Keys gave hackers affiliated with Anonymous usernames and passwords after he was fired from his job at Tribune Co.-owned KTXL Fox 40 in Sacramento, Calif. He allegedly told hackers to “go f**k some s**t up.”

DOJ alleges Keys posted under the username “AESCracked” and worked with Anonymous hackers between Dec. 10 and Dec. 15, 2010. The object of the conspiracy, according to DOJ, was to “make unauthorized changes to web sites that the Tribune Company used to communicate news features to the public; and to damage computer systems used by the Tribune Company.”

Other members of the conspiracy allegedly identified the Los Angeles Times as a target. One hacker successfully altered a Los Angeles Times story using the login Keys allegedly provided. According to DOJ, Keys stated he would use a Virtual Private Network to “cover [his] tracks” but discovered the company had cut off his account.

“I’m locked out for good,” Keys wrote, according to the indictment. “:(.”

A separate court document in the case indicated that Hector Xavier Monsegur, a hacker formerly known as “Sabu,” appeared in the chat-room log at the core of the Keys case. The document says Monsegur “offered advice on how to conduct the network intrusion.” Monsegur would later go on to become a cooperating informant on Anonymous.

Keys, a social media guru who previously used the Twitter handle @ProducerMatthew, faces up to 25 years in prison, as well as fines of up to $750,000. His arraignment is set for April 12 at 2 p.m. in Sacramento.

Keys is, of course, innocent unless and until proven guilty in Court. Nonetheless, the indictment [PDF] seems to indicate that the Feds have an airtight case.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Small world. KTXL in Sacramento is one of the many Cardlock fuel customers of the company for which I work.

    In any event, one of the primary ironies of the left-wing media is that it’s been so overrun in recent years with young and hyper-leftist agitators that the many layers of obvious irony inherent with this story largely will be lost on them. C’est la vie.

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  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    In any event, one of the primary ironies of the left-wing media

    Can you ever make a comment even slightly non-partisan? Or are the waters you swim in just that shallow?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  3. Moosebreath says:

    “one of the primary ironies of the left-wing media”

    is that so many are convinced that it is left wing. We actually have a very good example in recent headlines. The Democrats predicted that the sequester would hurt ordinary people, and Republicans and Republicans who call themselves Libertarians (including at this site) predicted that this was only scare tactics.

    After 2 weeks of sequester, by far the most reported story was the shutting down of White House tours. Not because this is the only effect of the sequester (see reductions in housing assistance, furloughs of government employees, longer lines at airport security screenings, etc.), but because it is the one reduction which hits Capitol Hill Republicans (since they have lost a perq to dispense to their contributors).

    And yet our so-called liberal media only reports the story that Republicans want them to.

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  4. Neil Hudelson says:

    Shorter Tsar: Gragglebagfuggledugh

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0