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Journalist charged with federal hacking offense

A 26-year-old journalist has recently been indicted on federal charges for a computer hacking conspiracy. The indictment alleges that the man took part in a 2010 hacking scheme to break into the Los Angeles Times' online system. The federal crime was apparently uncovered by an FBI agent working from within a hacker group.

The charges leveled against the man include conspiracy to transmit information to damage a protected computer as well as an attempt charge. If convicted of these charges, he could face maximum charges of 25 years of jail time and $500,000 in fines.

However, one computer security specialist interviewed about this case noted that if the incident occurred as the charges allege, it would be an unusual hacking project. The man charged is accused of leaking secure information to the hacking group so that they could break into the website, rather than just entering the website himself. The indictment alleges that after being terminated as an employee, he told the login information to the website to an internet chat room.

The result of the hacking scheme was a changed headline on a Times' article.

When serious federal offense charges are leveled, it is important to know that the legal team defending you is serious about fighting to beat the charges. Criminal law generally requires that a prosecutor has to prove the guilt of the defendant. It is a well-known legal doctrine that a defendant is considered innocent until proven guilty, and that burden lies with the prosecution.

A skilled attorney will be able to fight zealously to make sure that the court recognizes the reasonable doubt of the defendant's guilt.

Source: CBS Atlants, "Reuters journalist charged with hacking conspiracy," Paul Elias and Garance Burke, Mar. 14, 2013

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