Reuters Social Media Editor Charged With Helping Anonymous Hackers

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Los Angeles Times page allegedly defaced with the assistance of Reuters deputy social media editor

A Reuters employee has been charged with conspiring with the Anonymous hacktivist group to help break into systems of a former employer and deface the Los Angeles Times’ web site.

Deputy social media editor at the Reuters news agency, Matthew Keys (pictured), was indicted for allegedly handing over login details for the Tribune Company in 2010, before he worked at Reuters.

It was alleged Keys encouraged the Anonymous members to make changes to Tribune sites, and the crew altered a web version of a Los Angeles Times news feature. The charges were filed in the Eastern District of California

Matthew KeysConspiring with Anonymous?

When Keys found out about the defacement of the Los Angeles Times page, he was alleged to have responded by saying, “nice”. The indictment indicated Keys was acting as a disgruntled ex-employee of Tribune, where he was the web producer for Sacramento-based television station KTXL FOX 40.

Keys spoke out over Twitter, saying he was holding up despite the accusations. “I am fine. I found out the same way most of you did: From Twitter. Tonight I’m going to take a break. Tomorrow, business as usual.”

Keys, 26, has been 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.

He faces a maximum sentence of 25 years, as well as fines of up to $500,000.

Reuters reported that Keys’ security pass had been deactivated, according to a Thomson Reuters employee at the New York office.

A Thomson Reuters spokesperson added: “Any legal violations, or failures to comply with the company’s own strict set of principles and standards, can result in disciplinary action. We would also observe the indictment alleges the conduct occurred in December 2010; Mr. Keys joined Reuters in 2012.”

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