Arik Hesseldahl

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Reuters Social Media Editor Charged With Helping Anonymous Hackers

hackers_380A social media editor for the Reuters news service today stands indicted for allegedly helping the loose affiliation of computer hackers that calls itself Anonymous carry out attacks against websites controlled by the Tribune media company.

You can read the original indictment below. But federal authorities say that in late 2010 in a chat room, Matthew Keys helped a member of Anonymous working under the chat room name “Sharpie” obtain the user name and password to that company’s content management system.

That person then vandalized an existing story on the website of the Los Angeles Times, authorities said.

Their chat transcripts suggest that Sharpie had bigger plans and intended to replace the Web front page of either the Chicago Tribune or the Los Angeles Times with a page of his own making.

For allegedly helping with that, Keys faces as much as 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Chances are that pressure will be brought to bear on Keys to help the FBI track down more members of Anonymous — that is, to the extent that he can. Don’t expect much.

Keys, who tweeted for Reuters under the name @TheMatthewKeys, appears to be nothing more than a bit player who was sympathetic to Anonymous and was a former employee of a TV station owned by Tribune. He’s unlikely to know how to go about finding the people who constitute the inner core of Anonymous.

For something like that, you need a much more strategically placed confidential informant. Someone like Hector Xavier Monsegur, who worked under the handle Sabu. He’s the one who, from an apartment on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, helped authorities in the U.S., U.K. and Ireland collar a few allegedly higher-ranking members of Anonymous.

Matthew Keys Indictment

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Nobody was excited about paying top dollar for a movie about WikiLeaks. A film about the origins of would have done better.

— Gitesh Pandya of comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”