The Reuters journalist Matthew Keys — whom many know by his Twitter handle @TheMatthewKeys — was indicted today for allegedly "conspiring with members of the hacker group 'Anonymous' to hack into and alter a Tribune Company website."
Keys, 26, is a deputy social media editor at the wire service Reuters, but he is widely followed on Twitter for his fast-moving, helpful news feed. In charges made public today, the Justice Department alleges Keys provided members of Anonymous with log-in credentials "for a computer server belonging to KTXL FOX 40's corporate parent, the Tribune Company."
As the Justice Department explains it, Keys was fired from KTXL and then decided to leak the passwords. This all happened in 2010.
In a press release, the Justice Department explains:
"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."
If convicted Keys is facing up to 10 years in prison. Keyes, a prolific tweeter, has not issued a statement. He did not immediately return our request for comment.
Reuters spokesperson David Girardin told Politico "the company was 'looking into' the matter."
Update on March 15 at 4:10 p.m. ET. Maintains Innocence:
Reuters reports that Matthew Keys will fight the charges against him. The wire service reports:
"Suspended Thomson Reuters employee Matthew Keys, indicted Thursday on federal hacking charges involving the group Anonymous, 'maintains his innocence,' his attorney told Reuters on Friday.
"New York-based attorney Tor Ekeland said Keys 'looks forward to contesting these baseless charges.'"