During opening arguments, Keys lawyer tells the jury his client is not guilty because he neither intended to cause damage, nor actually caused the amount of damage that the government alleges. The defense argues that Keys was in the Anonymous IRC channel as a journalist, looking to write up a “headline-grabbing story” about Anonymous. His lawyers say a major issue is whether Key’s actions were “low-level vandalism, or high-level, high-damage hacking,” and note the defaced article was changed back in an hour.
Matthew Keys did not know as much as the government says he knew. He did not know the true capabilities of the others in the chatroom with him.
Prosecutors claim that the Tribune spent over $5,000 to fix the defacement. They claims to have a recording of Keys confessing, “I did it,” as well as a written confession.
This is a case about online anonymous revenge.
Keys identifies himself on an Internet chat forum as a former Tribune Company employee and provides members of Anonymous with a login and password to the Tribune Company server. He encourages the Anonymous members to disrupt several Tribune companies and urged that the Los Angeles Times should be “demolished.” Keys:
Go f-ck some shit up.
Hackers uses the credentials provided by Keys to log in to the Tribune Company server and make changes to the web version of a Los Angeles Times news feature, changing a headline to read: “Pressure builds in House to elect CHIPPY 1337.”
Hacker: [T]hat was such a buzz having my edit on the LA Times
Keys also changes the access credentials of FOX40 employees, interfering with their ability to access company servers, and obtained email addresses for FOX40 viewers, to whom he sends disparaging emails about the company. According the the company Keys’ actions caused the mobile version of the Times to be offline for a day, and resulted in thousands of dollars in costs for the Tribune Company in responding to the breach of its systems by shutting backdoor access credentials and assessing the full extent of the damage.