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September 06, 2012

Amateur Hackers Threaten to Expose Romney's Tax Returns

By Julie Griffin, Contributing Writer

A message posted on Pastebin last month claims that a group of hackers broke into Pricewaterhouse Coopers in Frankin, Tennessee and snatched Mitt Romney’s 1040 tax returns. It seems that the hackers are asking for $1 million to be deposited into a Bitcoin account by September 28, or else passwords to the encrypted documents will be released to major news outlets.

CNET investigated the situation after coming across the Pastebin message. The evidence presented in the article suggests that despite the Secret Service’s involvement, nobody seems to believe that any serious security breech took place.

And if the group is claiming to be “hactivists” on behalf of the Democratic Party, they lack support. Peter Burr, the chairman of the Williamson County Democratic Party where a manila envelope was sent told CNET, “We almost threw the letter away. We passed it around and it drew some laughs."

Apparently, the hackers sent messages of their deed to local Republican and Democratic offices with a “black Cruzer 4G thumb drive” wrapped in bubble wrap. A message was written with what appeared to be “magic marker.”

Although the Democratic Party has challenged Presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney, to share his tax returns with the American people, according to Burr, “We would only be interested if it came from official sources."

Members of the Republican Party are also skeptical. Jean Brawick of Tennessee told The Blaze, “A million dollars seemed kind of low,” Barwick said. “If you’re going to go for a million, why not go for $100 million.”

Other sources compared the level of sophistication needed to carry out the hoax to a “Nigerian e-mail scam.”

Pastebin, where the message was posted, is an anonymous web host, much like Razorian Fly, where the hacking group called Antisec posted the 12 million UDID’s of Apple (News - Alert) devices that allegedly include the ID of President Obama’s iPad.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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