He could get a lot by law, but he likely will skate with a couple of years.
On Wednesday, a jury in Sacramento, California, found Matthew Keys, former social media editor at Reuters and an ex-employee of KTXL Fox 40, guilty of computer hacking under the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act.
In 2010, Keys posted login credentials to the Tribune Company content management system (CMS) to a chatroom run by Anonymous, resulting in the defacement of an LA Times article online. The defacement was reversed in 40 minutes, but the government argued the attack caused nearly a million dollars in damage.
“The government wanted to send a clear message that if you want to cover a group they don’t agree with, and you’re not complicit with them [the government], they will target you,” Keys told me after the trial.
When asked about claims that the prosecution was politically motivated, Assistant US Attorney Matt Segal replied, “I don’t know what Keys’s political beliefs are.”
Keys was found guilty on all three counts he was charged with: conspiracy to commit computer hacking, transmission of malicious code causing unauthorized damage to a protected computer, and attempting to transmit malicious code to cause unauthorized damage to a protected computer. (The specific provisions of the CFAA are listed at the end of this article.)
The statutory maximum for Keys’s crimes is 25 years, but in a statement given after the trial, a spokesperson for the US Attorneys Office said Keys would likely face less than five years.