Feeds

Palin email hacker gets 366 days in custody

Prison or halfway house

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

The former Tennessee college student convicted of hacking into Sarah Palin's Yahoo Mail account was sentenced on Friday to 366 days in either federal prison or a halfway house.

David Kernell smiled as the sentence was delivered in US District Court in Knoxville, according to news reports. He faced a maximum of 20 years in custody, and federal prosecutors had been seeking 18 months imprisonment. Defense attorneys had asked for probation with no time served in prison. He was also sentenced to three years of probation.

In April, Kernell was found guilty of one misdemeanor count of computer intrusion and a felony count of obstruction of justice. A jury acquitted him of a separate charge of wire fraud and deadlocked on a fourth charge for identity theft.

In September 2008, Kernell used publicly available information to break in to the account of Palin, who at the time was the Republican vice presidential candidate. After looking up her zip code and other information online, he reset her password and posted a smattering of pictures and other contents to 4chan.org. The content was later reposted to Wikileaks.

US District Judge Thomas W. Phillips sentenced Kernell to one year and one day in custody and recommended that time be served in a halfway house. It will be up to officials at the Bureau of Prisons to decide whether that recommendation is carried out or whether Kernell will instead go to prison.

The son of a Democratic Tennessee state legislator, Kernell admitted to deleting some computer files after the hack because he was worried they would incriminate him. He also defragmented his hard drive and deleted temporary internet files to cover his tracks.

His attorneys asked the court for leniency, arguing that he allowed much of the data on his machine to be preserved. They also characterized the offense as more of a prank than a crime.

Kernell was permitted to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons at a later date, according to news reports. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
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
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
Application security programs and practises
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.
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.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.