Palin email hacker convicted by Tennessee jury

A college student indicted for hacking into former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin's Yahoo email account while she was the Republican nominee for Vice President was convicted on Friday by a Tennessee jury, according to Cnet.com. David Kernell, the 22 year old son of Tennessee Democratic house representative Mike Kernell, was found guilty of unauthorized access to a computer and destroying records to obstruct justice. He was acquitted on charges of wire fraud, and no decision was made regarding a conviction of identity fraud due to a deadlocked jury.

Kernell, a student at The University of Tennessee,  used simple social engineering techniques to gain access to the account. He guessed the answers to the secret questions associated with Palin's account, and the password was simply emailed to him. He leaked only a few pieces of personal information which were promptly picked up by wikileaks.com, and didn't seem to have malicious intent. Wikileaks attributed the leak to the infamous /b/ board of the anonymous forum 4chan. It was only later that the source was tracked back to Knoxville, and Kernell's apartment. 

After the trial, Palin commented:

"Violating the law, or simply invading someone's privacy for political gain, has long been repugnant to Americans' sense of fair play. As Watergate taught us, we rightfully reject illegally breaking into candidates' private communications for political intrigue in an attempt to derail an election."

There has been no word on sentencing yet pending a decision from U.S. District Judge Thomas Phillips.

Image courtesy of Cybershack.

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