Feeds

Student found guilty of obstruction in Sarah Palin email trial

Faces 20 years

Website security in corporate America

The college student who used publicly available information to break in to the Yahoo! Mail account of then-vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has been found guilty on two of the four charges filed against him.

David C. Kernell was convicted of felony obstruction of justice and a misdemeanor count of unauthorized access to a computer, according to news reports. He was acquitted of wire fraud and the jury hearing the case deadlocked on a charge of identity theft.

Federal prosecutors haven't said whether they will retry Kernell, who is the son of a Democratic Tennessee lawmaker, on that last charge.

Kernel faces a maximum of 20 years on the conviction of obstruction of justice, which was brought because he deleted evidence from his hard drive. He faces an additional year on the misdemeanor.

His defense attorney characterized the breach as a college prank that had no criminal intent. He was a student at the University of Tennessee who chronicled the stunt on the 4chan website. But federal prosecutors said it was a serious effort to derail Palin's bid for vice president during the 2008 campaign.

In a Facebook post that compared the breach to the Watergate burglaries, Palin appeared to agree with the prosecution.

"Besides the obvious invasion of privacy and security concerns surrounding this issue, many of us are concerned about the integrity of our country’s political elections," she wrote. "America’s elections depend upon fair competition. Violating the law, or simply invading someone’s privacy for political gain, has long been repugnant to Americans’ sense of fair play."

According to testimony in the trial, Kernell spent about 20 minutes online to compile information needed to reset the password for Palin's Yahoo Mail account. At the time, several published reports questioned whether the then-Alaska governor was improperly using it to conduct official state business.

Kernell said he didn't find anything incriminating and posted a handful of messages and pictures online.

He is free on bail. A sentencing hearing has not been set. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Freenode IRC users told to change passwords after securo-breach
Miscreants probably got in, you guys know the drill by now
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
BitTorrent's peer-to-peer chat app Bleep goes live as public alpha
A good day for privacy as invisble.im also reveals its approach to untraceable chats
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.