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Reuters social media editor indicted for conspiring with Anonymous in media hack

The US Department of Justice announced that a grand jury in California has charged Keys, 26, with three counts related to “transmitting information to damage a protected computer." If convicted, the penalty is not a wrist-slap: Keys faces up to 25 years in prison, nine years of supervised release and a fine of $750,000.  

The centerpiece of the complaint concerns a log of an alleged online chat in which Keys asked a member of Anonymous to "go f--- some s--- up" for the Tribune Co. The request was allegedly made two months after he was fired in October 2010 from Tribune-owned California TV affiliate KTXL FOX 40. The complaint also accuses Keys of giving members of Anonymous the log-in credentials for a computer server in order to get started.

Further, the indictment, first obtained by the Huffington Post, noted that at least one member of the group apparently took Keys up on his offer: one of the hackers allegedly used the credentials to enter a Tribune server and alter a news story on the Los Angeles Times website.

The online chat was conducted with an Anonymous member with the handle of "Sharpie." Sharpie also happens to be known as Sabu (real name: Hector Xavier Monsegur), an ex-Anonymous member and the former leader of the LulzSec offshoot who became an FBI informant after his arrest last year. It was Sabu who provided the government with the information to indict Keys, Forbes reported.

For his part, Keys seems unconcerned, for now. He tweeted that he is "fine" and is returning to "business as usual" at Reuters. Keys is scheduled to appear in federal court in Sacramento on April 12.

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