Crime & Justice

Reuters' Matthew Keys indicted for allegedly helping Anonymous hack LA Times (PDF)

Picture of a painting on a wall representing Anonymous Guy Fawkes mask taken in a street of Paris, on April 24, 2012.
Picture of a painting on a wall representing Anonymous Guy Fawkes mask taken in a street of Paris, on April 24, 2012.
Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images

Reuters Deputy Social Media Editor Matthew Keys has been indicted for allegedly conspiring with members of hacking group Anonymous, who used information he provided to hack the Los Angeles Times.

Keys faces three counts for allegedly intentionally giving hackers info to attack computers used by the Tribune Company, which owns the L.A. Times. Keys worked for Sacramento TV station KTXL FOX 40 as a Web producer before being fired in October 2010, which is owned by Tribune.

According to the federal indictment, Keys allegedly gave Anonymous hackers log-in credentials for Tribune's servers, under the screenname "AESCracked." An IRC user in chat channel #internetfeds allegedly expressed a desire to gain access to Fox's computers, and Keys responded "it takes a while to grant one username permission to every site. I'm doing that now," according to the indictment.

Keys then allegedly identified himself as a former Tribune employee, and encouraged Anonymous hackers to attack Tribune's site, saying, "go f--- some s--- up."

At least one hacker used the info provided by Keys to log into Tribune's server and made changes to the Web version of an L.A. Times news story and defaced the Times' site, according to the indictment.

Keys allegedly later had a conversation with the hacker who took credit for defacing the L.A. Times' site and told Keys that Tribune system administrators had locked him out of the system. Keys then allegedly tried to get access once again for that hacker.

When told by that hacker they'd allegedly made changes to an L.A. Times page, Keys allegedly responded, "nice."

The indictment says that the hacked news story read as follows:

Pressure builds in House to elect CHIPPY 1337.

House Democratic leader Steny Hoyer sees 'very good things' in the deal cut which will see uber skid Chippy 1337 take his rightful place, as head of the Senate, reluctant House Democrats told to SUCK IT UP.


A 2011 tweet from "The Real Sabu" cited Keys as giving control of the L.A. Times site to Anonymous.

Following the indictment, Keys retweeted a story about his indictment, as well as posting one additional tweet:

If convicted, Keys faces up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and $750,000 in fines — $250,000 for each count.

Matthew Keys Indictment