Feeds

Lawyers claim Palin hack suspect's PC had spyware

Groundwork laid for possible Big Wooden Horse defence

Seven Steps to Software Security

Lawyers for Sarah Palin webmail hack suspect David Kernell claim his PC was infected with spyware.

The contention may be used at trial to support arguments that the 21-year-old student son of a Tennessee Democrat politician was not personally responsible for the hack on a Yahoo! account maintained by the former Alaskan governor, which was traced back to an IP address used by Kernell.

The content of emails and family photos were uploaded onto 4Chan during last year's presidential election campaign. The webmail account was compromised after hackers reset Palin's password using biographical info that was far from hard to figure out from publicly available information.

Palin described the incident as hugely disruptive to the Republican presidential campaign in her recently published book.

Lawyers acting for Kernell claim his Acer laptop was infected with unspecified malware in a motion filed on 30 November. However, the malware involved has been isolated and subjected to scrutiny, Security Blanket reports.

The so-called Trojan defence was successfully used by accused hacker Aaron Caffrey, an Asperger's sufferer charged with using systems run by the Port of Houston to run a DDoS attack, crashing servers in Texas in the process. Caffery was cleared after a jury found him not guilty of hacking offences at the end of a week-long trial back in 2003, despite the fact that expert witnesses found no evidence of Trojan infection on his PC.

In other cases, suspected paedophiles have been cleared by computer forensics after Trojans capable of downloading illicit images were found on their PCs.

It's unclear to what extent Kernell's lawyers will use the "hackers used my PC as a proxy" patsy defence when his trial, scheduled to begin on 20 April next year, gets underway. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.