Reuters journalist charged with hacking conspiracy

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A social media editor for the Reuters news service was charged Thursday with conspiring with the group "Anonymous" to hack into the Tribune Co.'s computer system shortly after he was fired from one of the company's TV stations.

Matthew Keys is charged with supplying hackers in December 2010 with the login credentials to the computer network of Tribune Co., which owns the Los Angeles Times, the FBI said. Keys had been fired from a Tribune-owned television station in Sacramento two months earlier during the company's bankruptcy. He was not working for Reuters when he allegedly conspired with Anonymous.

According to the federal grand jury indictment handed down in Sacramento, a hacker altered a Times news story posted on Dec 14 and 15, 2010, to read "Pressure builds in House to elect CHIPPY 1337," a reference to another hacking group.

The indictment alleges that Keys, 26, and another hacker failed in another attempt to access the Tribune computer system after the Times hack. Keys acquired the login information while serving as the web producer for the Sacramento-based FOX station KTXL, which is owned by Tribune Co.

A Tribune spokesman declined comment.

From June 2008 to April 2010, Keys' Facebook page said he worked as an online news producer for the Sacramento station.

"Was a one-man band for two years, updating breaking news, current events, political, entertainment and sports content," read Keys' description of that job on Facebook. "Launched social media platforms to promote content and engage with audience."

Investigators say Keys turned over the information in an online chat room frequented by hackers and members of Anonymous. Department of Justice prosecutors in court papers allege that a legendary hacker and Anonymous leader named "Sabu," who later turned into an FBI informant, "offered advice on how to conduct the network intrusion."