Blogger in Los Angeles Times Hack Sentenced to Two-Year Term

  • Matthew Keys convicted of aiding hack by the group Anonymous
  • Hackers changed web headline on story about Congress

A former Tribune Media Co. employee was sentenced to two years in prison for helping the Anonymous hacking collective gain access to the Los Angeles Times website to alter a story, according to federal prosecutors.

Matthew Keys, a well-known blogger, was accused of launching a cyber-attack on the media company out of revenge after he was fired in October 2010. A federal jury in Sacramento, California, in October found Keys guilty of conspiracy to damage a protected computer, transmission of a malicious code and attempted transmission of a malicious code.

Prosecutors said Keys aided in an attack on the Times, then owned by Tribune Media, after leaving his job at its KTXL Fox 40 television station in Sacramento. The jury also heard a recording of Keys admitting to the FBI that he gave Tribune login credentials to a hacker from the group Anonymous.

Keys said he left the station of his own accord. Keys said he was researching Anonymous at the time of the L.A. Times hack and denied giving Tribune login credentials to hackers. He said quotes from his statement to the Federal Bureau of Investigation were taken out of context.

The hacker gained entry to Chicago-based Tribune’s content-management system and changed the headline in the Web version of an L.A. Times story about the U.S. Congress.

The case is U.S. v. Keys, 13-cr-00082, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California (Sacramento).

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