Feeds

Democratic rep fathered alleged Palin hacker

How to fool Yahoo! email security in 45 minutes or less

SANS - Survey on application security programs

The son of a democratic state representative from Tennessee is at the center of an online investigation into who broke in to the email account of vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and shared some of its contents with the world.

Representative Mike Kernell, told a reporter with the Tennessean that his 20-year-old son, David, is the individual believed by bloggers to be involved in the hacked account. David Kernell is a student at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. The FBI and Secret Service, which were reported to be investigating the breach, have yet to publicly identify David Kernell as a suspect.

The revelation follows a first-person account that was briefly posted to the 4chan website by a user who went by the name Rubico. Bloggers quickly linked the user to an email address belonging to David Kernell, but until now, that connection had not been confirmed. Some bloggers say that the elder Kernell is a supporter of democratic candidate Barack Obama, but those claims couldn't immediately be verified.

According to Rubico's account on 4chan, it wasn't until after he broke into Palin's account that he realized the seriousness of the offense.

"it finally set in, THIS internet was serious business," he wrote. "yes I was behind a proxy, only one, if this shit ever got to the FBI I was fucked, I panicked."

Rubico's mention of a proxy refers to Ctunnel.com, which as previously reported, was the service the the person posting accounts details online used in an attempt to cover his tracks. As it turns out, the poster left almost the entire contents of the Ctunnel URL in screenshots, which is probably enough for the operator of the service to identify him.

Said operator, Gabriel Ramuglia, has been contacted by an FBI special agent and plans to turn over logs being sought in the investigation.

Rubico claimed the actual intrusion into Palin's account was a relatively easy matter. It began after Rubico read news accounts claiming Palin used gov.palin@yahoo.com in her official capacity of governor of Alaska - which, if true, would skirt the state's open government laws. Rubico then hacked Yahoo's password recovery feature. In 45 minutes, he had her birth date, and two possible zip codes, and soon after that online research revealed Palin met her spouse, Todd, while they were students at Wasilla High School, in Alaska.

Presto, he had all the information he needed. Rubico "promptly changed the password to popcorn and took a cold shower."

The episode underscores the growing ability of computer security to interject itself into the highest echelons of politics. Obama supporters are already using it as proof that a republican running for one of the highest offices in the land skirts laws she has sworn to uphold. And it's only a matter of time before Republicans claim the hack was part of a secret Democratic operation.

And for all this election drama, we have the startlingly weak security of Yahoo mail to thank and someone unscrupulous enough to exploit it. Who would have thought? ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
Heartbleed exploit, inoculation, both released
File under 'this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me'
Arts and crafts store Michaels says 3 million credit cards exposed in breach
Meanwhile, Target investigators prepare for long process in nabbing hackers
Canadian taxman says hundreds pierced by Heartbleed SSL skewer
900 social insurance numbers nicked, says revenue watchman
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.