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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
Guy Who Aided LA Times Hack Could Get 25 Years
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)

(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.

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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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