Ex-Reuters social media editor Matthew Keys found guilty of 3 federal counts of hacking

A jury in Sacramento, California, today found former Reuters deputy social media editor Matthew Keys guilty of computer hacking under the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act (CFAA).

The statutory maximum for the crimes Keys is convicted of is 25 years. The US Attorneys Office said today Keys would likely face five years or less.

"While it has not been determined what the government will be asking the court for, it will likely be less than 5 years," said the federal spokesperson.

The CFAA was passed in 1984, and is the same federal law that overzealous federal prosecutors used to go after the late activist and hacker Aaron Swartz.

President Barack Obama recently asked Congress to expand prison sentences for anyone convicted of a crime under the CFAA.

Keys' attorney Jay Leiderman, who has worked on other cases related to the loosely-bound hacker collective Anonymous, says they will appeal.

Keys previously worked as an internet producer for KTXL Fox 40, a Sacramento, CA-based TV station.

From Sara Jeong's account at VICE:

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.

Former Reuters Journalist Matthew Keys Found Guilty of Three Counts of Hacking [motherboard.vice.com]