Thursday, September 06, 2012

Hacker group claims theft of Romney tax returns, blackmails Romney camp

An as-yet unidentified hacker group is threatening to do what GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney refuses to do: release his tax returns.

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Reports of the alleged hack were first made public late Wednesday. The hackers posted the following to Pastebin, a sort of repository of information about hacks. It's a favorite for Anonymous and LulzSec, who earlier claimed to have stolen 12 million iDevice UDIDs from an FBI laptop.
PWC Office @ 830 Crescent Centre Drive, Suite 260, Franklin, TN 37067
Telephone: [1] (615) 503-2860

Romney's 1040 tax returns were taken from the PWC office 8/25/2012 by gaining access to the third floor via a gentleman working on the 3rd floor of the building. Once on the 3rd floor, the team moved down the stairs to the 2nd floor and setup shop in an empty office room. During the night, suite 260 was entered, and all available 1040 tax forms for Romney were copied. A package was sent to the PWC on suite 260 with a flash drive containing a copy of the 1040 files, plus copies were sent to the Democratic office in the county and copies were sent to the GOP office in the county at the beginning of the week also containing flash drives with copies of Romney's tax returns before 2010. A scanned signature image for Mitt Romney from the 1040 forms were scanned and included with the packages, taken from earlier 1040 tax forms gathered and stored on the flash drives.

The group will release all available files to the public on the 28 of September, 2012
It's possible the Romney camp could halt the release of the tax returns, if they were to wire transfer $1 million in Bitcoins to the group. For those unaware, Bitcoins are an online currency that is difficult to trace.

If the ransom is not paid by the Romney camp, the hackers said that the tax returns would either be sold to the highest bidder or else be released on Pastebin for everyone to read.

Assuming this threat is valid, at least the Romney camp can't blame the Democrats. Instead, they'd have to blame one of the Wall Street firms the GOP knows and loves.

Although the hackers haven't revealed their IDs, it would seem they are not from Anonymous or LulzSec. Those organizations are both part of the AntiSec anti-corrupt government / anti-big business movement, and we'd expect them to release the returns sans payment.

It has been confirmed that both the GOP and Democratic Party offices in Williamson County where the PWC office is located received packages late last week with thumb drives. It is unknown what was on the storage devices; Peter Burr, chairman of the county Democratic Party confirmed they read an enclosed letter, but did not look at the thumb drive. The GOP similarly acknowledged receipt of a package.

Meanwhile, the Secret Service is looking into the threat. While confirming or refuting the hack should be simple, tracking down the hackers in question will probably take longer.

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