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Sarah Palin’s e-mail hacker refutes ‘hacker’ term November 15, 2008

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Straight.com, 14 November 2008

David Kernell, the 20-year-old University of Tennessee student who accessed Sarah Palin’s personal e-mail account, insists that what he did should not be considered “hacking”.

According to Wired.com, Kernell’s lawyer has filed a motion that would prevent prosecutors and witnesses from classifying what Kernell’s actions as “hacking” and from calling Kernell a “hacker”.

Apparently, the only thing that Kernell did was correctly guess Palin’s security questions by using Google searches to guide him.

All Kernell needed was Palin’s date of birth, ZIP code, and the knowledge of where she met her husband—information that’s available online for anyone to view.

After resetting Palin’s password to “popcorn”, Kernell posted the Alaskan governor’s e-mail and password on the 4chan forums—a large Internet discussion board that ranges in topics from Japanese culture to video games and sports.

Kernell’s lawyer is arguing that hacking usually involves some sort of advanced computer skills to get past security codes and that guessing a password shouldn’t be counted as such.

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Steve Jobs Heart Attack Rumor Started On 4Chan By A Teenager November 5, 2008

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The Common Sense Investor, October 2008

On October 3rd, a rumor that Apple CEO Steve Jobs had a heart attack sent Apple’s stock crashing down from $105.04 per share to $94.65 per share, equaling a loss of $9 billion in market value. All that in just 10 minutes. That shows how important Steve Jobs is to Apple. It also shows how fragile the market is at times.

Generally, when a fake news story has a substantial impact on the value of a company’s stock, the SEC gets involved. And that’s just what they did this time. Manipulating the value of a stock for your personal gain is a crime with some hefty penalties, so the SEC tried to trace the story and see if it’s originator had any financial reasons for starting the rumor. It turns out he didn’t.

The story made it’s way to CNN’s iReport.com, which is where it really started to hit the mainstream news, but it’s origin was a tad less respectable: an 18 year-old kid posting on 4Chan as a prank.

Here’s the complete post from CNN’s iReport “Citizen Journalist” Web site:
“Steve Jobs was rushed to the ER just a few hours ago after suffering a major heart attack,” said the false report. “I have an insider who tells me that paramedics were called after Steve claimed to be suffering from severe chest pains and shortness of breath. My source has opted to remain anonymous, but he is quite reliable. I haven’t seen anything about this anywhere else yet, and as of right now, I have no further information, so I thought this would be a good place to start. If anyone else has more information, please share it.”

“Battling Scientology” Follow-Up October 25, 2008

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The Phoenix, 24 October 2008

Depending on whom you ask, Massachusetts-based protest organizer Gregg Housh had a major victory – or a significant loss – in Boston Municipal Court this Wednesday. As reported in The Phoenix this past week in the feature “Battling Scientology,” Housh faced charges of harassment, disturbing the peace, and disturbing religious worship for his involvement with the picket group Anonymous and his actions against the Boston Church of Scientology.

According to an Anonymous press statement that circulated earlier this afternoon: “On October 22nd Boston Municipal Court dismissed the charge of criminal harassment against ‘Anonymous’ anti-Scientology activist Gregg Housh, pending an order for the two parties to not approach each other.”

Boston Church of Scientology attorney Marc LaCasse was quick to comment that Housh did not get off so easily. “Gregg Housh – under oath – admitted that the [evidence presented against him] was true. The document he signed is called ‘admission to sufficient facts.’ If it doesn’t get any clearer than that…”

Legally speaking, charges against Housh were not technically dismissed. Instead he agreed to a Continuance without a Finding (CWOF), which the Massachusetts Criminal Defense Resource Page explains as: “Under Massachusetts Criminal Laws, agreeing to a Continuance without a Finding is not the same as pleading guilty. Technically, it is an admission that “there are sufficient facts to find you guilty” of the charges. Pleading to a CWOF will happen at a pre-trial conference as part of a plea agreement, if your attorney can get the prosecutor to agree.” (For more about the legal side see this article from Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly).

The good news is that all parties seem to be happy with the outcome. At least for now, it appears that Housh – who was placed on one year probation and who faces one year in prison if he enters within 100 yards of the Boston Church of Scientology on Beacon Street – avoided what promised to be a lengthy trial. On the other side, LaCasse says the outcome works for him: “My client simply wanted to be left alone.”

NEW JERSEY MAN CHARGED WITH ATTACKING CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY WEBSITES IN THE NAME OF ‘ANONYMOUS’ October 18, 2008

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United States Attorney’s Office
Central District of California

Thom Mrozek
Public Affairs Officer

October 17, 2008

NEW JERSEY MAN CHARGED WITH ATTACKING CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY WEBSITES IN THE NAME OF ‘ANONYMOUS’

LOS ANGELES – A New Jersey man was charged today for his role in an attack on Church of Scientology websites in January 2008 that rendered the websites unavailable.

Dmitriy Guzner, 18, of Verona, New Jersey, has agreed to plead guilty to computer hacking for his role in the distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack against the Scientology websites. A DDOS attack occurs where a large amount of malicious Internet traffic is directed at a website or a set of websites. The target websites are unable to handle the high volume of Internet traffic and therefore become unavailable to legitimate users trying to reach the sites.

According to the criminal information filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles, Guzner participated in the attack because he considered himself a member of an underground group called “Anonymous.”  “Anonymous” has led protests against the Church of Scientology at various locations across the country, and in January 2008 posted a video on YouTube which announced a new offensive against Scientology.

Once he pleads guilty, which is expected to take place in the coming weeks in federal court in New Jersey, Guzner faces up to 10 years in federal prison.

This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force in Los Angeles. The agencies involved in the investigation were the United States Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigation.

#####

Release No. 08-140 – original here: http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/cac/pressroom/pr2008/140.html

Gov. Palin’s Alleged Hacker Indicted October 8, 2008

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Washington Post, 8 October 2008

A 20-year-old student at the University of Tennessee has been indicted for breaking into one of the email accounts of Gov. Sarah Palin and then posting screenshots of personal information obtained there to a public Web-site.

David Kernell, the son of a Democratic state lawmaker, was led into a Knoxville federal court wearing handcuffs and shackles on his ankles today and was released without posting bond, according to the Associated Press.

According to the indictment, Kernell broke into the account, gov.palin@yahoo.com, by using Yahoo’s password recovery tool. After researching and correctly answering a series of personal questions from Yahoo, Kernell was allowed to reset the password. He chose ‘popcorn,’ according to the indictment.

The personal information he discovered there included the email addresses of family members, pictures of family members and Gov. Palin’s address book for her Yahoo email account. It was posted on http://www.4CHAN.org.

Learning of an investigation, Kernell “removed, altered, concealed and covered up files on his laptop computer,” the indictment says.

Trial is set for Dec. 16. He faces a maximum of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

Tennessee: Grand jury doesn’t indict student in Palin e-mail case September 25, 2008

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Chattanooga Times Free Press 24 September 2008

A federal grand jury in Chattanooga ended its session Tuesday without indicting a University of Tennessee student who authorities believe may have hacked into vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s personal e-mail account.

The FBI’s investigation into David Kernell’s activities, however, is ongoing, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Knoxville is overseeing the case, but U.S. Attorney Russ Dedrick declined to comment Tuesday on when, or if, another grand jury will resume hearing evidence from the FBI’s investigation.

“Grand juries can pursue investigations for many sessions,” Mr. Dedrick said.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Chattanooga confirmed Monday that the local federal grand jury would be evaluating the case Tuesday. Grand juries are responsible for hearing basic evidence in a case and then deciding whether to indict a suspect for a specific crime.

Grand jury proceedings are not open to the public, and it is not known what evidence the grand jury here might have heard Tuesday in relation to the case against Mr. Kernell.

Three students arrived at the federal courthouse on Georgia Avenue about 8:45 a.m. Tuesday to testify about Mr. Kernell, the son of state Rep. Michael Kernell, D-Memphis. The students did not provide their names and did not answer questions about the case. An attorney with them from Maryville, Tenn., declined comment, as well.

The students were allowed to leave the courthouse through the back door, where members of the public generally are not allowed.

FBI agents from Knoxville exited the front doors of the courthouse about 10 a.m., also declining to comment on any aspect of the case.

A hacker last week broke into one of the Yahoo Inc. e-mail accounts used by Alaska Gov. Palin, the running mate of presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. The McCain campaign acknowledged the act, calling it illegal and an invasion of her privacy.

The FBI began investigating Mr. Kernell over the weekend, according to the Justice Department. Investigators searched his apartment in Knoxville, but they did not file any criminal charges immediately.

Mr. Kernell, 20, is an economics major at UT. Kernell family attorney Wade V. Davies wrote in a letter Monday that “the Kernell family wants to do the right thing, and they want what is best for their son.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Oprah Dead: SICK HOAX September 20, 2008

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babble, 21 September 2008

Reports of Oprah Winfrey being found dead have swept the internet, although no reliable news organisations were being sourced. There’s a reason for that: SHE’S NOT DEAD.

According to wikinews.org, it’s part of an internet hoax that was either started by a group known as Anonymous or from a website 4chan.org. Either way, it’s sick.

Palin Hacker Group’s All-Time Greatest Hits September 20, 2008

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Wired, 19 Sept 2008

By Ryan Singel September 19, 2008 | 3:04:51 PMCategories: Hacks and Cracks

Anonymous isn’t so anonymous anymore.

At least not after one “member” of Anonymous, the loose confederation of online troublemakers, broke into the personal e-mail account of Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin and then posted the new password to Anonymous’ online message board.

From there, others slipped screenshots and family photos to the leak-releasing website Wikileaks, launching a maelstrom of media coverage and widespread speculation as to the e-mail hacker’s real name.

For those unfamiliar, Anonymous is a group you can’t join, except by hanging out for a long time in the internet’s most juvenile corners — usually one of the image boards where everyone posts anonymously. 4chan’s /b/ board — or random — seems to be the main hangout, though other chans and IR channels seem to serve as adjunct clubhouses as well. The hangouts have almost no rules —  though using some variation of the terms fag, nigger and jew seems mandatory in every post.

The self-identified Palin-email burglar who uses the online handle Rubico said he got the idea while hanging out at 4chan — specifically its random or /b/ board (NSFW).

After watching others on the board temporarily lock up the e-mail account by trying primitive ways to break in, Rubico decided to call on the power of Google. With a combination of answers found through searches and an educated guess, Rubico was able to reset the account’s password.

Though Fox News famously and hilariously called Anonymous “hackers on steriods,” in large part they have little skill besides knowing how to use a web proxy to mask their IP addresses.

Instead, Anonymous keyboard miscreants combine online Fight Club-like bravado, inside jokes documented only on the world’s stupidest wiki, and harassment tactics that sound funny in theory but in practice are streaked with cruelty. The point? Fun at other people’s expense — otherwise known as Lulz.

The basic repertoire? Prank phone calls, ordering pizzas to someone’s house, flooding a message board with obscene ASCII art. Advanced techniques include finding a way into someone’s MySpace account in order to send messages to their friends saying they are gay.

What are Anonymous’ greatest or worst hits?

The Epilepsy Attack — In March, a group of internet griefers flooded an epilepsy message board with flashing images that caused migraine headaches and seizures in some users. While it’s not certain whether it was properly the work of Anonymous, the assault was rumored to have started on a thread at 7chan.org — another Anonymous hang out — and much was blamed on eBaumsworld, an online site often derided by Anonymous.

The FBI is reportedly investigating what may be the first computer attack that physically harmed people.

The Scientology War — In January, Anonymous decided to take on a real target — the Church of Scientology — which its members considered to be an overly litigious cult. Soon, anonymous pranksters were ordering pizzas to Scientology offices, using denial-of-service attacks to scuttle its web servers and posting previously unseen secret Scientology documents.

They also briefly pointed denial-of-service attack tools at the wrong IP address — which happened to be a Dutch school.

The publicity drew hordes who wanted to participate, and soon many longtime Anonymous users found themselves annoyed with the new converts who thought Anonymous was a crusading organization.

The Habbo Hotel Raid – Anonymous has staged many minor incursions into other people’s online playgrounds, but one of the most storied involved a virtual world known as Habbo — a frequent target for bored Anonymous lurkers interested in ruining other people’s fun.

In 2006, hundreds of Anonymous users showed up using identically dressed avatars: a black man with an Afro in a grey suit. They blocked off the pool to other users, claiming it was infected with AIDS. They also formed swastika-like formations and flooded the site with stupid internet sayings. When users were banned, they claimed it was racist.

The Mitchell Henderson Harassment — The suicide of Mitchell Henderson, a seventh grader, stirred Anonymous, who gleefully decided that Henderson shot himself because he had lost his iPod, a fact he’d noted on his MySpace page. Anonymous grabbed onto a badly written message on an online memorial page for him, and turned the phrase “an hero” into an internet meme.

For more than a year, Anonymous kept up the fun, calling Henderson’s parents, pretending to be his ghost.

The Hal Turner Campaign – In late 2006 and early 2007, Anonymous had much fun with Hal Turner, a small-time white supremacist who ran an online radio show. Anonymous flooded one of his shows with prank calls, which then escalated in mutual internet stupidity.

Anonymous eventually flooded his site with too much traffic for his web host to handle. Turner tried suing the image boards — unsuccessfully — and finally he closed down his show after a hacker managed to unearth correspondence suggesting Turner was an FBI informant.

4chan terrorist hoaxer Jeremie Dalin will serve two years of felony probation August 19, 2008

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Lake County News Sun, 18 August 2008

A former Barrington High School student who was convicted of making false terrorist threats has been ordered to tour the county speaking to students about the importance of being cautious on the Internet.

Jeremie Dalin avoided jail time at his sentencing hearing Friday, but other provisions of his sentence will limit his Web use, and he’ll serve two years of felony probation. (read article)

Anonymous hacking to destroy for “fun” and harassment of Black Americans July 4, 2008

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The story of the 4chan hack against SOHH.com and others.

In the early hours of June 27, 2008, two very popular Hip-Hop musical websites were attacked by individuals calling themselves “Anonymous”. MTV News reported that: “Both companies’ sites were hacked, and instead of the usual hip-hop related news articles and feature stories, readers were shocked to find fake headlines and obviously photoshopped pictures saturated with racial slurs and other offensive terms; the hackers also stole personal information about employees of SOHH.com. A group or individual going by the name “Anonymous” has claimed responsibility.”

The CEO of SOHH.com, one of the attacked sites with over 1.5 million visitors per month, issued a statement, saying:

“It appears that hackers are specifically targeting Black, Hispanic, Asian and Jewish youth who ascribe to hip-hop culture. … Other websites, including AllHipHop and DatPiff forums have also been compromised or threatened this week. … Also, as this is an international issue, it is being addressed by the FBI and the Strategic Alliance Cyber Crime Working Group.”

The sites were defaced with Nazi symbols and targeted the Black community whose members regularly frequent the site for news.

Fake headlines (“JEWS DID 9/11 – Enjoy This White Wimmens, N*gger”)

Fake headlines (“DEAD BEAT NIGRA ORDERED TO PAY 40K IN NIGLET SUPPORT) and racist pictures.

Promoting slavery

Racist comments and pictures

Early research found that the attack had been planned and promoted on 411chan.org where a “Call to Arms” was published on 411chan.org on 23 June 2008:

(nao : slang for now. irc: Internet Relay Chat. A real-time communication system on the internet used for chatting or live coordination of events).

The call for support was posted on a website called 411chan.org, a meeting place of the internet group “Anonymous” especially targeting Black people and minorities.

The systems of SOHH.com were damaged sufficiently to leave the site inaccessible for a week. Also the other attacked sites stayed partially disconnected from the internet.

EncyclopediaDramatica.com, a primary site of Anonymous chronicling the online activities of internet hackers on 4chan.org and 411chan.org, announced on 30 June 2008 that they will continue their “fight against niggers”:

“SOHH.com is a place for gay wiggers [slang: wanna-be niggers] to talk about cRap music using their native tounge of nigger language. Sohh.com is one of the highest-ranked online hip-Hop communities ….

“However, Anonymous has no regard for one’s material gains or how “nannified” a racial demographic is — Anonymous only exists to destroy. That lesson has been made abundantly clear to SOHH.com. …

“As SOHH is down, the leader of the Pro-Nigger Faction started a secondary ‘instead-of-SOHH’ site … The registrations are currently closed, but many of our soldiers managed to get in before the closing. As a result of this, there are currently operations underway to make sure this site does not achieve any sort of prosperity.” (Source: http://encyclopediadramatica.com/SOHH)

(What Anonymous thinks of Black people. Source: http://www.encyclopediadramatice.com/Nigga)