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Ex-Web Producer Indicted in Anonymous Hack of L.A. Times

matthew-keys-smNEW YORK — Thomson Reuters has “dismantled” the work computer of deputy social media editor Matthew Keys after he was indicted Thursday for allegedly conspiring with members of the hacking group “Anonymous” to infiltrate a Tribune site, the wire service said.

Reuters quoted a company employee as saying the computer in Keys’ New York office was taken apart and his security pass deactivated.

Reuters issued a statement saying it was aware of the indictment.

“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, and while investigations continue we will have no further comment,” a Thomson Reuters spokesman told the wire service.

Keys said earlier in the evening on Twitter: “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, who once worked at Fox 40 in Sacramento, was charged with three hacking-related counts and faces up to 10 years in prison for the December 2010 attack.

chippy1337The hack appeared on a news story on the website of the Los Angeles Times, which is also owned by Tribune.

According to federal authorities, Keys provided a user name and password for Tribune servers to hackers in an online chat room after he was terminated from KTXL FOX 40 in late October of that year and “encouraged” them to disrupt the site.

With the information from Keys, prosecutors allege, a hacker accessed a news story on The Times’ website and changed a headline to read: “Pressure builds in House to elect CHIPPY 1337.”

“[T]hat was such a buzz having my edit on the LA Times,” the hacker, using the screen name “sharpie,” wrote to Keys, according to the indictment. “Nice,” Keys allegedly replied.

Prosecutors wrote in the indictment that the Tribune Co. spent more than $5,000 responding to the attack and restoring its systems. They are also seeking forfeiture of the tools Keys used in assisting the attack, including his MacBook Pro.

Victoria Kim, L.A. Times

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