The 20 year old Tennessee student, David Kernell - was recently indicted for illegally hacking into Sarah Palin's private Yahoo email account. He is being indicted for violating the "Computer Fraud Act", contrary to the previous thought that he would only be charged with a misdemeanor. David Kernell first reset Palin's password and then changed it to "popcorn", then posted it on several forums. Kernell could end up spending 5 years in prison and face a 250,000 dollar fine (but it is suspected that, in the end, he will end up with close to no jail time, if any at all).
David Kernell allegedly posted instructions on how he hacked Palin's account on the website "4chan". The technique which the hacker used to hack into Palin's account was extremely easy (I have even been capable of easily doing this, and was close to it -- all it required was asking someone his pet's name -- His secret question). What the hacker did was input Palin's zip code (he stated that this was easy because there were only two in the certain area she was in), and the secret question asked where she met her spouse, which the hacker was able to easily discover with a quick google search. He changed the password to "Popcorn", and posted this on online forums. Even though this is so simple to do, it doesn't make it any less legal if he had used a complicated method to find her password. I personally think the punishments are too high for the crime he commited. If he had changed her password, thats one thing, but giving everyone and anyone access to her personal email is a huge violation of privacy, and is wrong no matter how much you may hate Palin. David Kernell claims to have read through every one of her emails before posting the password on 4chan, just to make sure there is nothing too incriminating, and Kernell describes the messages as "anticlimatic". I think this is a valuable lesson showing how easy it is for someone to hack your email if you have an obvious Secret Question that someone could ask you and find out when your off guard.