A Reuters deputy social-media editor has been charged with conspiring to help members of the Anonymous hacktivist collective to break into the website of the LA Times in 2010.
At the time, 26-year-old Matthew Keys worked for a California television station that shared a content management system (CMS) with the LA Times, both owned by the Tribune Company.
After he was fired from the television station, Keys allegedly passed on his access credentials for the CMS to Anonymous, the LA Times said.
According to the indictment, the Tribune Company spent more than $5,000 responding to the breach.
Keys blogged in March 2012 about his connections with Anonymous, in which he acknowledged being in chats with high-level Anonymous members who were planning hacks.
In response to the charges, Keys tweeted to his 24,000 followers: "I am fine. I found out the same way most of you did: From Twitter.
“Tonight I'm going to take a break. Tomorrow, business as usual,” he said, according to the Telegraph.
Read more about Anonymous
- Anonymous uses Aaron Swartz suicide to call for copyright reform
- Two jailed in the UK for Anonymous cyber attacks
- Swedish government sites targeted by Anonymous
- Anonymous claims a million Apple IDs in FBI breach
- Anonymous hits UK government websites in support for Julian Assange
- Anonymous attacks: Three phases of an anonymous attack methodology
- Anonymous attacks Virgin Media for blocking The Pirate Bay
- Feds announce Anonymous, LulzSec arrests
The Tribune Company and the LA Times have declined to comment, while Reuters said in a statement that it was aware of the charges.
"Any legal violations or failures to comply with the company’s own strict set of principles and standards can result in disciplinary action," the statement said.
"We would also observe the indictment alleges the conduct occurred in December 2010; Mr Keys joined Reuters in 2012 and while investigations continue we will have no further comment.”
In February, the US Federal Reserve confirmed an internal website had been breached, but denied claims that Anonymous accessed a file containing the passwords of more than 4,000 bank executives.
The claim was made via Twitter using an account registered to OpLastResort, which is a campaign linked to Anonymous that was started in protest against the US government’s prosecution of digital activist Aaron Swartz, who killed himself on 11 January.
Hackers identifying themselves as Anonymous breached the US sentencing commission website in January to protest against the government's treatment of Swartz.