back to article Democratic rep fathered alleged Palin hacker

The son of a democratic state representative from Tennessee is at the center of an online investigation into who broke in to the email account of vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and shared some of its contents with the world. Representative Mike Kernell, told a reporter with the Tennessean that his 20-year-old son, …


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  1. Jodo Kast

    Good drama

    Mr. Kernal should QQ more in the movie.

  2. Gordon Fecyk
    Thumb Up

    Dan! Goodin! Has! Clue!

    "we have the startlingly weak security of Yahoo mail to thank and someone unscrupulous enough to exploit it."

    And you didn't blame Microsoft for it. I have hope for you yet. This is more than I can say for commentary on the CBC website about the same hack attack.

  3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Flee to Mootxico, man!

    "And it's only a matter of time before Republicans claim the hack was part of a secret Democratic operation."

    Secret operation which posts a tell-all to quadchan. Might be plausible to voters who know that the Internets are full of terrists and offensive language.

    Anyway, here's hoping the "secret operative" is not shifted to Guantanamo at once or that the "terrorist" adjective does not appear in his indictment, adding years and years at Club Fed.

  4. heystoopid
    Black Helicopters


    Hmmm , a good thing all of Sarah's shotguns are currently pointed in the A***se of a potential future son in law whose current my space profile shows him to be a high potential runner at the wedding altar , otherwise ouch !

    But it does show the the absolute hypocritical unethical values and double standard rules that all repuke elected officials live by , for the only real reforms they ever do at both local , state and federal level is to replace existing piglets at the money trough with their own variety! Alas the ever faithful party lambs claim wow look at all those reforms done by this idiot till the next idiot pops up to do the same thing in the same way and as for previous idiot "wow what a greedy scumbag !" becomes their new war cry .

    Merkin politics is a truly a strange business indeed , for Sarah Palin on her election platform claimed her government would be open and accountable at all levels and she does the exact opposite and has do so since 1992 which is no real surprise to the smarter residents of a town she has driven almost to the point of bankruptcy . It is sad to see how the ever dumb and stupid loyal Alaskan rednecks are flocking to her side to defend that which is indefensible and very hypocritical and this data should have been readily available to the general public under the FOI laws !

    Choices ?

  5. Anonymous Coward

    In 3....2...1...

    /cues the inevitable wave of repukes thumping their chests and claiming it was all at the behest of Obama and his people. All the while ignoring that currently it sounds like it was simply one misguided person attempting some sort of "public service" to disclose palin using a yahoo account for government work. Not some grand conspiracy on the part of the democrats.

    Coat, cus at this point I'm ready to either see the american people pull their collective heads out their asses or just leave.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Surprise! This happens more often than you think.

    Government officials using their personal Yahoo or Gmail accounts for official business happens more often than you think. In fact, while working with an (unnamed US government agency), there were repeated security violations as officials at all levels refused to use secure channels for E-mail communication because of the inconvenience of using a secure network.

    I'm not surprised her E-mail was hacked and not surprised with it's content.

  7. Ron

    Control your personal information

    It's not just celebrities who are vulnerable to such password-recovery attacks-- everyone is. If you're a US resident and you haven't locked your credit reports with the major consumer credit reporting agencies, you're vulnerable too. Anyone can get a copy of your credit report in the US by claiming to be a potential creditor or potential employer and paying the appropriate fee.

    If you don't supply real personal information as answers to security questions, that information can't be leaked by the possessor (Yahoo) or used by an attacker.

    Security questions present an especially severe vulnerability because they are not optional on most systems.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    I'm Spartacus

    Of course, it's always worth bearing in mind the disclaimer on /b/:

    "The stories and information posted here are artistic works of fiction and falsehood.

    Only a fool would take anything posted here as fact."

  9. Crystal Walrein
    Thumb Up

    Anonymous strikes again!

    I figured something was going to happen to them, after watching them for years....

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    "have the startlingly weak security of Yahoo mail to thank and someone unscrupulous enough to exploit it. Who would have thought?"

    Paris would have thought about it!

    But then again if you can conduct THE PUBLIC'S business on a private (hidden!) account - who is to say what is right.

  11. Alan W. Rateliff, II
    Paris Hilton

    Rocks, glass houses... Pot, kettle...

    But then, that second one is probably racist. I suppose the difference is that Mr. Presidential Candidate only cavorts with those who skirt the law, thus giving him plausible deniability. While Mrs. Vice-Presidential Candidate improperly uses a third-party email system to conduct state business.

    Not knowing much about the "open government" bit versus her Yahoo! email, I am curious to find what the law states which would specifically disallow that. Afterwards, I will have to see if I can find anything on the books about taking campaign contributions from a government-subsidized business as it falls through the crapper.

    Paris, looking for the lesser of two evils.

  12. Spider

    Shock! News!

    Politician ignores laws whilst shouting about their enforcement on the rest of the mortals...

    ... thought that was a pre-requisite?

  13. Dan Silver badge

    I thought only idiots used real info for password recovery questions

    But it also turns out that politicians do too.

    (That's if they can be classified separately from idiots.)

  14. Norfolk Enchants Paris

    I wonder

    Given that Ms Palin was a beauty queen if her aim as VP would be "World Peace and to Work With Children".

  15. dv

    Also, equal protection under the law?

    Have you ever seen anyone other than Rep viceprez candidate, who, having her email account hacked in, is being helped by various federal agencies in finding the perp? Some are more equal than others it seems.

  16. Neil Greatorex

    @ In 3....2...1... by AC

    "american people pull their collective heads out their asses"

    Why would the American people put their collective heads in their donkey in the first place?

    The Equus asinus population must be huge in America.

  17. TJ

    towards the light..

    Funny, I thought McCain would be closer to god then she would be.

    Hat, Coat, And JESUS SANDALS!

  18. disfit


    The use of the word hacker is way over the top; it creates a nice headline and a lot of 'media buzz', but reading the article it is a misnomer.

    If the facts mentioned in the article are correct, no specialized technical knowledge and/or techniques have been used. Instead Yahoo!'s public login and user identification pages have been used in a correct manner, i.e. by entering certain data in the available text boxes.

    The data was not gathered in any 'dark or evil' way, but was collected from open sources (presumably) using nothing else than the proper channels (search engines).

    Calling somebody who uses the available Yahoo! pages to login on another's account a hacker, would indicate that anybody who successfully logs in on his/her own Yahoo! account a Whiz Kid ... I am sure everybody agrees that that most likely is not the right or accurate description of a typical Yahoo! user ... or Palin in this case.

    The point where the kid went astray was after he successfully logged in. He should have stopped there, since all actions before that might have been classified as misbehavior. With a good lawyer he could have made the case that he only used the publicly available data and did not (technically) misuse or hack computers and/or services.

    Hacker? Nahhhh, come on!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Sarah Palin is fair game

    Well done that lad!

    Anything that makes the silly bint look even more ridiculous than she already is can't be a bad thing.

  20. Matt

    Cold Shower?

    "promptly changed the password to popcorn and took a cold shower."

    Doesn't taking a cold shower normally imply you're trying to "calm yourself down".

    I wonder what he saw in those emails that got him so excited - Dick Smith employee style amateur pr0n starring Ms. Palin perhaps?

    This could be the real story!!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Double standards

    If this was just a personal email account (not an official government address), why are the FBI getting involved at all? Can't imagine them taking any interest if it was anyone else's Yahoo account getting hacked.

  22. Andy Worth

    The sad thing..... that the hacker will probably be locked away and they'll throw away the key. They'll probably treat it as a terrorism case as an excuse, even though the hacker was just trying to prove what a gun-toting, crazy-ass yokel Palin actually is.

  23. adnim

    Equal under the law?

    "The FBI and Secret Service, which were reported to be investigating the breach..."

    Now how many of her fellow Americans would have the assistance of the FBI and secret service in investigating the hacking of their personal email accounts? Such a high level investigation into a hacking of her official email account I could understand.

    If the information contained in this account actually warranted such an investigation. ie the information was of an official nature or the exposure of said information could lead to a breach in national security, then she should be forced to resign for using such an account for official purpose.

    Perhaps I am the only person who expects everyone to be treated equally by the law?

  24. Duncan Hothersall


    I love a conspiracy as much as the next man, but I would imagine the reason the Feds are involved is that as well as Rep viceprez candidate she is the governor of Alaska?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not so anonymous then?

    Is the kid actually even associated with the anti-scientology movement at all?

  26. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Ya gotta feel sorry for the poor kid

    There he is, behaving like a typical little boy, but he hasn't realised that he past the age of legal responsibility a while back so he's looking at something a little harsher than "a good talking to". He's clearly out of his depth. Anyone with a clue would have started talking about a public interest defence (defense?) by now.

  27. martin burns
    Black Helicopters

    Supporter of Obama

    A Democratic State Senator supports the Democratic nominee for president? Well knock me down and call me Nancy - whoever would have suspected that?

    For the love of Hillary, will those evil bastards in the Democratic party stop at nothing to get Obama elected? Not even getting their own state party members to support him?

  28. Anonymous Coward


    > his 20-year-old son, David, is the individual

    > 20-year-old son, David

    > David

    Anonymous Coward because.. well, you know

  29. Matt


    How could he have gone by the name of if he was in /b/ I detect a faggottree.


  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Happens in the UK too

    I've got a friend who works for a certain council that I'm not going to mention, where they have access to internet hosted web mail systems because certain senior staff 'require' it.

  31. Mark

    Gordon! Fecyk! Has! Kneejerk!

    What's the need of bashing microsoft when their fans will do it for us?

    When MS does something wrong, we complain and you tell us we're just jealous. When MS doesn't do anything, we don't complain and you tell us we're just jealous and where are our complaints about MS?

    Tell me, do you intend to give ANY reasonableness to the situation?

  32. Graham Dawson Silver badge

    @public business

    The whole point of what this guy said is that she WASN'T using the account for public business! Why are people still spreading this idea?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Anyone dumb enough.......

    to use 419 e-mail deserves all they get....

    I always maintained anyone with a yahoo email address was up to no good.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    You have to be an idiot...

    ... to fill in the security questions with guessable data when registering an account.

    Paris, coz even she knows this.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: Politicians' campaigns

    It is a truth universally accepted that whenever a politician starts a witch-hunt against a particular vice / act etc. then they are certainly an active participant of said target activity.

  36. Anonymous Coward


    For those who are not "down with the kids" there is a recurring joke on 4chan that Anonymous' real name (as it is only one person, not a group or organisation or shit like that) is David.

    Coincidence or something more humorous?

  37. Chris
    Paris Hilton

    No story here

    Where are the nudes! Palin is a MILF and I invoke Rule 34 on that ass!

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up sort of quote matt damon in his interview.

    Palin is a dangerous woman, she is 1 in 3 chance of becoming president, follow the actuary tables and MCCain won't survive his first term (he is that old)

    She is a mayor of a small town in nowhere alaska, then she becomes governor.

    And as he said, "I want to know if she really thinks dinosaurs were around 4000 years ago, because this woman will have to go against putin and has the nuclear codes."

    We should all be frickin' scared of her and her creationist beliefs.

    Page 5 - top right

  39. Mark
    Paris Hilton


    Well, there's one way to shut her up!

    Fnar, fnar!

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture


    Anonymous isn't just the anti-Scientology stuff.

    Anonymous was around before then. (In fact, there's horribly amusing in-fighting about Chanology between various factions of Anonymous.)

    P.S. Where's the dead vulture, dammit?

  41. Anonymous Coward

    Stop calling it a hack!

    It was a quick witted but ultimately stupid person saw a non-technical flaw in a system and took advantage of it! That's not a hack in my book, that's simply using the system as it was designed to work.

    This was known about 2 days ago on Slashdot, where a link to the full transcript appeared showing that someone had simply followed the standard procedures to reactivate the email account, then posted the details on some board before crapping themselves about what they had done. Then the press got hold of it and blew out of all proportion saying an international gang of hackers broke into a politician's private email account.

    Why let facts stand in the way of a good story, eh?!

  42. adnim

    @Duncan Hothersall

    I don't think it should matter who she is. She should be using yahoo mail to talk about bar-b-ques, pets, children, where she buys her spectacles etc, etc. Hardly the kind of thing the FBI should be involved in. If she had used yahoo for business/governmental/official purpose then fair enough get the FBI involved, but she would also deserve to be sacked.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Not so anonymous then?

    What the hell does anonymous have to do with scientology? Other then yet another crusade for lulz?

  44. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Why the FBI are involved.

    Apart from the fact that hacking is dealt with under federal wire-tapping law, because the "criminal act" spans several States - the Yahoo servers are in a different State to the confused-individual/hacker/moron, and the victim is in a third State. That makes it a federal case, hence the FBI involvement. Nothing to do with Palin pulling rank to get the FBI on the kid, just the same response any other US citizen would get if the crime had involved more than one State. At least we can rest assured the Dems won't be claiming Palin can't use email, maybe they'll actually get down to debaiting real issues rather than squealing about pigs and lipstick.

    The unfortunate Mike Kernell (what a name, if only he worked with Linux!) had to come out and shop his son as not to do so would have led to calls of a Dem cover-up. Kernell will probably have to stand down over the issue, so the idiotic son has failed to smear Palin and probably removed his own father from office - smart kid! With friends and supporters like that, Obama might as well just pack up now and go back to Hawaii (or Kenya).

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surprised she uses a computer

    After all it was invented after the 13th Century and doesn't get a mention in Leviticus.

  46. ShaggyDoggy

    Should it be

    "Tennesseean" ??

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    *knock at the door*

    Kernell "Hey, whose that?"

    Voice "It's the 4chan partyvan!"

    Kernell "Hey - cool guys" *opens door*

    There stands a man in black "Just kiddin - FBI!"

  48. Gordon Fecyk
    Gates Halo

    @! Mark! For! Jealousy! Commentary!

    "Tell me, do you intend to give ANY reasonableness to the situation?"

    After all the Dan Goodin bashing I did here, I figured some encouragement was appropriate. And yes, a comment board on the CBC web site got filled with, "don't use Windows, then!!!!111one" postings following this Palin hack story.

    And yes, you ARE just jealous that I can use Windows with impunity and you can't! :-p

    Seriously, Dan, thanks for avoiding a knee-jerk article.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    All for being named David. That poor kid probably doesnt know wtf. I'm sure 4chan will enjoy the lulz of this kid being vanned and his dad being thrown out of office. The fact that it was posted with a name and linked to an email address on 4 chan is pretty much proof that its fake.

  50. Jesse

    Reminds me of this photo:

    Serious business.

  51. Anonymous Coward

    Aspergers anyone

    Has he claimed the "asperger syndrome" defence yet? ;)

  52. adnim

    @Matt Bryant

    You're right, my bad. Crime crosses state border = federal crime. But the Secret Service?

    I would be tempted to ask, would a woman who lives in a trailer park suffering the same crime have the same resource applied? However thinking about it they probably would. There is not much involved in examining logs and tracking IP, especially when there are proceedures to do so already in place.

  53. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    RE: adnim

    Ah, but the much juicier bone of contention is what spurred Mike Kernell's little anouncement. Was he tipped off by a Democratic sympathiser in the FBI or Secret Service? Was he pushed to shop his son by Democrat central, and if so was it Pelosi or Biden (it was far too quick a reaction for Obama, he would need the answer up on his autocue before he could talk about it)? Was his son secretly setup by a dastardly Republican posing as a friend, encouraging him to try the hack?

    OK, if you actually fell for any of the above paragraph then you really need to switch to decaf! If nothing else, the US elections provide great entertainment!

  54. Brandon


    Sarah Palin doesn't live in a trailer park. If you can't see the difference between her and the subject of your intended comparison, then you deserve to get the next Jimmy Carter, which is Obama. Change is sometime just going back to what's been tried before, expecting something new and different... A.K.A insanity (liberalism)

    Maybe aliens will save our economy from the morons in charge...

  55. Pete "oranges" B.
    IT Angle


    Boring. Script-kiddie gets into politico's personal email account. Finds nothing interesting. Boring.

    It's Friday, entertain me dagnabit!

  56. James Butler

    Yadda Yadda

    @Graham Dawson

    Um ... ALL of her official business was conducted using ONLY her Yahoo email account ... she NEVER used her government account.

    @Matt Bryant

    What a maroon! Facts, schmacts ... I guess when you're a McSame supporter, facts only get in the way, don't they? FYI, it was the Repugs who "squealed" about lipstick, the Repugs who insist on campaigning absent any discussion of the issues Obama brings up at every stump speech, and Hawaii is, in fact, part of the United States ... so what's your point about the irrelevant Kenya? Remember ... ignorance is not a defense.

    (Where's the "DUH" icon?)


    FBI = Multiple states involved, so can't be a single State's jurisdiction and

    SS = Palin's a vice presidential candidate ... she gets SS protection automatically.

  57. JT2008
    Paris Hilton

    Hey Sarah ...

    Not that I'm advertising, but ever hear of LifeLock???

    Paris, because she's no bulldog with lipstick.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    'account on 4chan'

    I can tell you have never been there.

  59. Mark

    re: Why the FBI are involved

    If that statement is true, why is it the FBI don't get involved in other interstate cracking crimes? Why is it that ordinary people and their private emails being cracked do not cause the FBI to come to their rescue?

  60. Mark
    Thumb Down

    [sing/ Gordon is a retard, gordon is a redard. na naah na nah[/sing/

    What does another site have to do with El Reg? You're being as much a twat as the person on CBC. worse because YOU believe that sort of behaviour is wrong. The idiot on CBC may not have believed anything wrong in their infantilisim.

    YOU do.

    At least you say you do.

    So shut the fuck up you annoying retard. When someone complains about MS in an unrelated problem, THEN you can take them to task. Don't prove yourself a worse infantile moron by "pre-emptively" attacking.

  61. Dylan Fahey

    How can the FBI/CIA be called in for a 'personal' email account?

    1. How can the FBI/CIA be called in for a 'personal' email account? Who do the Palins think they are, Kennedy's?

    2. A shortbus hacker that uses such weak cloaking devices deserves to be caught, he got so excited when the hack worked, he spooged all over the screen and had to take a cold shower.

    3. Palin deserves this, using a personal yahoo account for public business, a no-no at any government organization, and any real corporation.

    Can you imagine, you're a seasoned FBI/CIA agent and have just busted a few terrorists for trying to bomb something after a 2 year investigation, you get the Freedom Award fromBush. What happens in your career, you get woke out of bed at 3AM to track down someone that read some email on yahoo for a nobody in Alaska.

  62. tony trolle


    it looks like little or no jail time due a loophole or two. lol wait and see.

    American Justice system wot a hoot.

  63. Elrond Hubbard

    Same old leftist tactics.

    Gwen Moore's son in '04, this leftist scumbag now. Democrats and their spawn behaving dishonorably isn't a new phenomenon.

    This might get interesting as we find out more about Kernell's apparent David Plouffe connection.(Obama's campaign manager)

  64. Anonymous Coward

    oh dear

    This guy was clearly not a real anon, just some dumb kid who should have murked loar. Now he's going to get b& and V& IRL. Stupid fucker clearly does not understand the way of the lulz. It's irritating to see morons like this associated with anon and also, to those previous posters who might think they're anon,


    Anyway, everyone knows it was really ebaumsworld that did it.

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