Journo Who Gave Hackers Password Could Get 25 Years

Ex-Reuters journalist gave Anonymous his Tribune Company password
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2015 12:13 AM CDT
Updated Oct 8, 2015 5:00 AM CDT
In this April 23, 2013, file photo, Matthew Keys, right, walks with his attorney to the federal courthouse for his arraignment in Sacramento, Calif.   (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli,file)
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(Newser) – Matthew Keys was described as a "disgruntled journalist" after he leaked his Tribune Company password to hackers in 2010, and he's likely to be even more disgruntled now: He was found guilty on Wednesday of charges including conspiracy to hack and faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison, Wired reports. Prosecutors said Keys, a former social media editor at Reuters, encouraged hackers to mess up the Los Angeles Times website after he had been fired by Sacramento's Tribune-owned KTXL-TV. A hacker then used Keys' login credentials to change a headline to read, "Pressure builds in House to elect CHIPPY 1337." A screenshot of the altered page can be seen here.

The byline and first paragraph of the story were also changed, and according to court documents, the company spent $18,000 on 333 hours of employee time responding to the hack, the AP reports. Keys' lawyer argued that restoring the Times story to its original state cost a lot less than the $5,000 required to make the crime a felony. The lawyer tells the Times that the hack, which was up for around 40 minutes, was fixed a few minutes after it was noticed and that Keys "shouldn't be doing a day in jail." Keys, who counts Edward Snowden among his supporters, plans to appeal the ruling. He will be sentenced on Jan. 20 and, as a first-time offender, is expected to receive a lot less than the maximum sentence, the AP reports. (Hackers are peeking at the hands of online poker players.)

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