Feeds

Lawyers claim Palin hack suspect's PC had spyware

Groundwork laid for possible Big Wooden Horse defence

The essential guide to IT transformation

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. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
Oz fed police in PDF redaction SNAFU
Give us your metadata, we'll publish your data
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?