Reuters’ Deputy Social Media Editor Matthew Keys has been indicted for providing the Anonymous group with login credentials to a server owned by the Tribune company, shortly after being terminated by a television station – KTXL FOX 40 – the group owned.

TNW has reached out to Keys directly, but has yet to be tendered a response.

The word ‘hack’ is being bandied about in regards to Keys’ involvement with Anonymous and the server. If in fact Keys did provide the password, the server was not hacked. It was instead merely compromised. There is a difference.

According to the indictment, the incident occurred after Keys had been terminated from the television station. Here is its description of the incident:
2013 03 14 14h07 33 Reuters Matthew Keys indicted for conspiring with Anonymous to compromise the LA Times website

The ‘conspiracy’ in question aimed, according to the document, to log into the CMS system in place, and, apparently tinker with it. That a FOX station was targeted will likely draw extra scrutiny to the situation, given the political position of the network.

In the end, the Department of Justice alleges that “at least one of the computer hackers used the credentials provided by Keys to log into the Tribune Company server, and ultimately that hacker made changes to the web version of a Los Angeles Times news feature.”

According to a tweet from Ryan Reilly, Keys told the infiltrator to “go fuck some shit up” using the credentials he had provided.

Keys will likely have to give up the hardware he was on during the conversations with Anonymous. The conversation was detailed in the indictment, including the following, damning snippet [Keys is AESCracked, it is alleged]:

2013 03 14 14h13 37 Reuters Matthew Keys indicted for conspiring with Anonymous to compromise the LA Times website

Matthew Keys was a well-liked member of the Reuters team, popular among the tech writing set. The indictment comes as a surprise to TNW. According to the Department of Justice, as quoted by Politico’s Dylan Beyers, Keys could face “up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 for each count” he is convicted of. The threat of 30 years in prison for allegedly handing over credentials seems pretty steep in our view.

Hold your views of the guilt of Keys until this ordeal has gone through the proper legal steps. His arraignment is scheduled for April 12 in Sacramento.

Why Keys might have wished to allow for the defacing of the LA Times website isn’t clear. However, it could be linked to his termination from the publication’s parent corporation. That, at this point, is speculation.

Update: Reuters, which reported a short piece on the situation, informed Politico that they are “investigating” the indictment. Keys hasn’t yet been fired, for what that is worth:

Thomson Reuters is committed to obeying the rules and regulations in every jurisdiction in which it operates. 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.

Top Image Credit: Elliott Brown