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What’s next in the Palin hacking case?

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The case into who hacked Governor Sarah Palin's email account continues. FBI agents searched the off-campus apartment of David Kernell, a 20-year-old economics major at the University of Tennessee.

The weekend sweep included breaking up a party thrown at Kernell’s apartment and issuing subpoenas to three of his roommates, according to an unnamed source quoted by the local WBIR TV station.

After finding an online post that details how the person broke into Palin’s email account, the FBI traced the hacker’s screen name – Rubico – to an email address used by Kernell.

Internet-security experts say the digital trail left by Rubico is pretty sloppy. “He might as well have taken a picture of his house and uploaded it,” Web-security guru Ken Pfeil told the AP. “He should have just set up a big beacon that said, ‘Here’s my house,’ or confessed.”

The hacker also showed the vulnerability of many web-mail services, such as the vice presidential candidate’s Yahoo email. Rubico describes sneaking into the personal account by guessing the simple security questions set up by the governor: where she met her husband, her birthday, and home Zip code. After answering them correctly, Yahoo issued the hacker a new password, “popcorn.”

A quick Google search could uncover such data for many public figures, yet many of us still use such easy hurdles to secure our email, banking, and credit-card accounts.

With little new news on the subject to report, many media reports have turned their attention to Kernell’s father, state Rep. Mike Kernell, the Democratic chairman of the Tennessee Government Operations Committee. "I was not a party to anything of this nature at all," he told the AP. "I wasn't in on this – and I wouldn't know how to do anything like that."


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