A former web producer at a California television station is being charged with providing company log-in credentials to members of Anonymous.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has charged 26 year-old Matthew Keys with aiding hackers in an attack on the parent company of his former employer. The DoJ alleges that the credentials provided by Keys were used to access systems and disrupt public-facing sites, including the LA Times.
According to the DoJ, Keys had been two months out of his job as a web producer with KTXL in Sacramento when, in December of 2010 he provided attackers with his old log-in credentials. The account was then used to gain access to content management systems with KTXL's parent company, Tribune Company.
Once the hackers had access to the Tribune Company systems, they were able to access and alter news content for other sites, including stories on the LA Times news site. Following the attack and subsequent revocation of his account, Keys is accused of trying to achieve new credentials for future attacks.
Keys, now a deputy social media editor with Reuters, is not said to have taken part in the attacks beyond providing credentials to others and encouraging attacks. A Twitter account purporting to belong to Keys claimed that he only learned about the indictment through news reports.
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.
— Matthew Keys (@TheMatthewKeys) March 14, 2013
The DoJ has charged Keys, a resident of New Jersey, in an Eastern California court on charges of conspiracy and transmission of information used to harm a protected computer as well as attempting to transmit information to harm a protected computer.
If convicted on all three counts, Keys could face a maximum sentence of 10 years prison with three years supervised release and fines totalling up to $750,000.
The charges are the latest to be filed by authorities against individuals believed to be associated with Anonymous hacking operations. Authorities have nabbed a number of individuals who have been accused of working under the hacktivist group's banner.
The government's most famous hacktivist bust, the dismantling of LulzSec, was back in the news recently when authorities scheduled, then delayed, the sentencing for the group's head, hacker-turned-informant Sabu.
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