Reuters Social Media Editor Indicted On Hacking Charges

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The US Department of Justice officially indicted Reuters Editor, Matthew Keys, late last week on 3 counts of conspiracy relating to a 2010 Anonymous hack attack on the Los Angeles Times.  According to the indictment, Keys provided log in information to Tribune Company owned computers and encouraged the hackers to make unauthorized changes to published information.

Matthew Keys Indicted

Matthews Keys had been part of the social media glitteratti among the news media and was recently named to Time Magazine’s 140 best Twitter feeds.  He made a name for himself as journalist who infiltrated Anonymous.  Keys became the deputy social media editor at Reuters in 2012.  The news organization was aware of the charges filed against Keys, but was quick to point out that the “misconduct” had occurred prior to his employment at Reuters.

If convicted, Keys could face up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 for each count, said the Justice Department.  The hefty fines and prison time would be the consequences of what amounts to a cyber prank where the title of a Los Angeles Times news article was changed from “Pressure Builds in House to Pass Tax-Cut Package” to “Pressure Builds in the House to Elect CHIPPY 1337.”  Protests similar to those that arose after the tragic suicide of Aaron Swartz have again cropped up online.

While there is no doubt that serious incidents of hacking and theft of secure information has been on the rise lately, there are some in the internet industry that have been very vocal about the Justice Department’s perceived overzealous pursuit of individuals of late.  President Obama has even been weighing in on the need to address cybersecurity threats.  At what point does the critical need to pursue real threats to internet security cross the line into making examples of small time players?

Image Credit: NewsBreaker

Michelle Stinson Ross

Michelle Stinson Ross

Content & Outreach Goddess at AuthorityLabs
Michelle Stinson Ross is a digital marketing industry recognized authority on the outreach power of social media. She has worked as a community manager and consultant for several brands to increase brand awareness, raise the visibility of special promotions, and train their teams to use the social space to connect with media influencers and the public. Michelle is part of the marketing team at AuthorityLabs and co-hosts #SocialChat, a Twitter based live chat that covers a variety of topics geared toward social media marketing (Mondays at 9 p.m. ET). Her passion for social media marketing has made her a regular conference speaker at events like ClickZ Live, and Search Marketing Expo. She has also been a featured guest on Webmaster Radio and several industry Hangouts on Air.
Michelle Stinson Ross
Michelle Stinson Ross
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  • Sahil

    Great to see US government taking great initiatives to combat cyber crime. Incidents such as this can spoil the reputation of a lot of great businesses or brands online.