SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A former web producer at KTXL, a Tribune Company-owned TV station in Sacramento has been charged and indicted for allegedly conspiring with hacker group Anonymous to get access into and alter a Tribune Company website, the Department of Justice said Thursday.
Matthew Keys, 26, who now lives in Seacaucus, N.J., has been charged with conspiring 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.
Keys was fired from KTXL in October 2010. During his time at the station he was very active not only on the station’s twitter account, but also on his now-defunct account @RadioMatthew.
Prior to his time at KTXL, Keys was an intern at CBS13 and occasionally reported on traffic during the morning show.
The indictment alleges Keys logged onto a chat server, identified himself as a former Tribune Company employee and provided Anonymous with the credentials needed to log into a computer server belonging to the Tribune Company. He then encouraged them to disrupt the website.
At least one of the hackers allegedly used the credentials to log into the Tribune Company server and makes changes to a web version of an L.A. Times feature. Keys reportedly had a conversation with the hacker claiming credit for the changes to the L.A. Times story, to which Keys allegedly replied, “nice.” After the hacker told Keys that he had been locked out of the Tribune Company system by its administrators Keys allegedly tried to regain access.
Keys faces up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised released and a fine of $250,000 for each count.
According to his Facebook page Keys had been working as Deputy Social Media editor at Reuters.
This case was investigated by the Sacramento and Los Angeles Field Offices of the FBI and is being prosecuted by the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California.