Report: Legislator's son at center of Palin hack talk

Blogs, message boards link college student to e-mail address reportedly used by hacker

A US state legislator has confirmed that his son, a 20-year-old student at the University of Tennessee, is the person being named on blogs and message boards in connection with the hacking of Sarah Palin's e-mail account, a Nashville paper reported.

Mike Kernell told the Tennessean that his son, David Kernell, is at the center of speculation about the identity of the hacker who gained access to Palin's account.

Kernell, a Democrat, represents District 93, which encompasses the University of Memphis and other parts of southeast Memphis. He declined additional comment to the Tennessean .

Last Wednesday, someone identified only as "rubico" posted a message to 4chan.org's popular /b/ board claiming to have gained access to Palin's e-mail by using Yahoo's password reset feature. Although the post was deleted from 4chan.org, a copy was sent to conservative syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin, who published it on her blog.

Others linked the rubico handle on 4chan.org to the e-mail address "rubico10@yahoo.com," which was in turn linked to David Kernell through Internet searches that uncovered connections between him, the username and the e-mail address on such sites as YouTube. Kernell's YouTube page has since been closed. The rubico10@yahoo.com address was marked as "temporarily locked because of security concerns" by Yahoo early Friday.

In a blog that Kernell began in 2003 -- and which holds only three entries -- he identified himself as "rubicox", a variation of rubico10. Kernell also used the rubicox handle on a chess site linked from his blog.

Others made more unusual connections between the hacker dubbed rubico10 and Kernell.

In the posting to 4chan.org's /b/ board, rubico10 said that after gaining access to Palin's account, "I promptly changed the password to popcorn and took a cold shower."

"Just dawned on me why he used the password 'popcorn'," said a user going by "akgoldrush" on the blog littlegreenfootballs.com. "Duh. Getting a little slow in my old age."

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Gregg Keizer

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
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