Feeds

Grand jury fails to level charges in Palin hack case

Investigation continues

Build a business case: developing custom apps

A Tennessee grand jury considering the Sarah Palin webmail hacking case completed its meeting on Tuesday without returning charges against the key suspect in the case, the student son of a state politician. Prosecutors said an investigation into the case remains ongoing.

Law enforcement officials carried out a search on an appartment shared by David Kernell, 20, a University of Tennessee student, in the early hours of Sunday morning. The authorities are investigating the compromising of a Yahoo! webmail account, maintained by the Republican vice presidential candidate, last week.

Posts on the 4Chan discussion board, using the pseudonym of Rubico, admitting responsibility for the Palin hack and explaining how it was carried out by abusing Yahoo's password recovery feature, were linked back to Kernell's email address. His father, state democrat rep Mike Kernell, admitted his son was a target in the investigation.

Little of political interest was exposed by the attack on Palin's gov.palin@yahoo.com webmail account, which was closed down shortly after the attack.

Screenshots made during the attack and posted onto the net revealed that the Ctunnel.com web proxy service was used in the attack. Because the full URL was included in these screenshots it's more likely that investigators will be able to trace back the IP address of the computer involved in the hack by going through Ctunnel's logs.

The three young people who share a flat with Kernell were each served with a summons over the weekend and testified behind closed doors at the Chattanooga grand jury hearing on Tuesday.

There are multiple potential sources of evidence in the case. It could be that important elements, in particular results of a forensic examination of any computer equipment seized on the raid on Kernell's flat, aren't ready yet.

Questions of law might also be in play. The perpetrator of the attack snooped on emails that had already been opened. This might hamper prosecution under the Stored Communications Act, based on the DoJ's stance in an earlier email privacy case, the Electronic Frontier Foundation reports.

Justice Department officials declined to comment on the grand jury's deliberations but told AP that the "government’s inquiry into this matter is ongoing". ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Rupert Murdoch says Google is worse than the NSA
Mr Burns vs. The Chocolate Factory, round three!
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
Think crypto hides you from spooks on Facebook? THINK AGAIN
Traffic fingerprints reveal all, say boffins
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.