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Journalist found guilty for giving hackers LA Times log-in details to 'fuck some shit up'

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By John McCarthy | Opinion editor

October 8, 2015 | 4 min read

Former Reuters reporter Matthew Keys has been found guilty of aiding hacking collective Anonymous gain control of the Los Angeles Times website.

Keys was found guilty of posting valid log-in details to the back end of the Tribune Company, the media giant behind the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and more, on a chatroom where it was available to the public. In the same chat, he allegedly urged recipients of the details to "go fuck some shit up".

The prosecution alleged he wanted revenge for being sacked from Fox affiliate KTXL. Notably, despite his removal from the Tribune company, he still had valid log-in details to the site. The details were then utilised by Anonymous members in 2013 in order to deface a 2010 story from Los Angeles Times.

Anonymous member Sharpie changed the headline on a 2010 tax cut story on the LA Times to "Pressure builds in House to elect CHIPPY 1337," in addition to the text.

The Tribune told the court the breach cost it ($18,000) £11,700 in fees, and 333 hours of staff times to repair. The defence alleged that the altered news story was live for under an hour and its actual cost sat at below the $5,000 needed for it to be classified as a felony.

Exiled whistleblower Edward Snowden weighed in on the verdict.

The sentence, which will be delivered 20 January for charges including conspiracy and the transmission of data to damage a computer, could be as high as 25 years. The prosecution however is "likely" to ask for under five years. Keys took to Twitter to condemn the case.

Keys will appeal the sentence once it is delivered.

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