The 20-year-old son of a prominent Tennessee Democrat stands accused of hacking into the e-mail address of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. The alleged hacker, David Kernell, was indicted Oct. 8 by a federal grand jury and faces a maximum of five years in prison if convicted.
The 20-year-old son of a Tennessee
state legislator pleaded not guilty to illegally accessing the e-mail
account of Republican vice presidential candidate and Alaskan Gov. Sarah
David C. Kernell, 20, son of state Rep. Mike Kernell, D-Memphis, was
indicted Oct. 8 by a federal grand jury in Knoxville,
According to the indictment, Kernell stands accused of accessing Palin's
private Yahoo e-mail account on approximately Sept. 16 by resetting
. He then posted screenshots of the account on 4chan.org, and
later attempted to cover his tracks by deleting and altering files on his
computer, authorities allege.
At the time of the hack, Palin was dealing with charges from critics that
she was using a private e-mail account to handle official state business as
Word of the hack spread like wildfire after screenshots from Palin's "email@example.com"
account were posted on Wikileaks.org following the hack. At the time, hackers
linked to "Anonymous"-a name given to anonymous posters on
4chan.org's message boards-were credited with the hack. However, a hacker with
the handle "Rubico" posted
(warning: profanity is used) on 4chan.org of how he used Yahoo's
password recovery feature to break into Palin's account. The handle was later
traced to Kernell.
If convicted of the charge, Kernell faces a maximum term of five years in
prison, a $250,000 fine and a three-year term of supervised release. A trial
date has not been set.