Criminal Justice

Did feds pick 'low-hanging fruit' by indicting editor in Anonymous hack attack on ex-employer site?

News that a mainstream journalist had been federally indicted Thursday for allegedly helping Anonymous hack into a former employer’s website led to his immediate ouster from his current job.

Matthew Keys, 26, was suspended with pay as a deputy social media editor for Reuters, Reuters itself reported.

His lawyer, Tor Ekeland of New York, said Keys maintains his innocence and “looks forward to contesting these baseless charges,” another Reuters article reports.

He is accused by the feds of having provided a username and password that helped an Anonymous hacker briefly get access to a Los Angeles Times website in 2010 and alter an article. Keys formerly worked for the Fox 40 station in Sacramento, which, like the Times, is owned by Tribune Co. and had lost his job there several months earlier.

A California criminal defense lawyer who has represented hackers and Anonymous members questioned why a relatively minimal invasion had resulted in a federal indictment.

“It was a prank. It really could have been handled civilly through a lawsuit,” said attorney Jay Leiderman. He speculated that Keys was simply “low-hanging fruit” that prosecutors could pluck for prosecution, reports the L.A. Now page of the Los Angeles Times.

Additional and related coverage:

Fox News: “Reuters’ Matthew Keys charged with aiding hackers Anonymous in 2010”

Huffington Post: “My Friend, Alleged Computer Hacker Matthew Keys “

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