An anonymous individual or group claims to have obtained "all available" tax returns associated with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
The alleged hackers claim to have accessed them via computers in the Franklin, Tenn., office of professional services firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
An anonymous posting on a file sharing website claims PwC was hacked; the same site has been used to boast of other high-profile corporate hacks.
How'd they pull it off, allegedly? The posting states:
"[Romney's 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."
Bribes go a long way, apparently.
President Obama's 2012 election opponent has faced calls to release his tax forms prior to 2010. The former CEO of Bain Capital has refused to do so.
Wonder if this will change his mind.
After "all 1040 tax forms for Romney were copied," the perpetrators claim, having sent Mitt's tax returns "to Democratic and GOP offices in the county."
"A scanned signature image for Mitt Romney from the 1040 forms were scanned and included with the packages," which are almost entirely encrypted.
That's where the fun part comes in.
The group claims it will "release all available files to the public on the 28 of September, 2012," unless someone coughs up $1 million ... in Bitcoins.
The purported hacker(s) issued this threat to PwC:
"All major news media outlets are going to be sent an encrypted copy of the most recent tax years that your company had on file since you did not have them all in a convenient electronic form."
"The years before 2010 will be of great interest to many. If the parties interested do not want the encrypted key released to the public to unlock these documents on September 28 of this year then payment will be necessary."
"The deal is quite simple. Convert $1,000,000 USD to Bitcoins (Google if if you need a lesson on what Bitcoin is) using the various markets available out in the world for buying."
"Transfer the Bitcoins gathered to the Bitcoin address listed below. It does not matter if small amounts or one large amount is transferred, as long as the final value of the Bitcoins is equal to $1,000,000 USD at the time when it is finished."
"The keys to unlock the data will be purged and what ever is inside the documents will remain a secret forever. Failure to do this before September 28, the entire world will be allowed to view the documents with a publicly released key to unlock everything."
"Bitcoin Address to Stop Release: [redacted]"
"At the same time, the other interested parties will be allowed to compete with you. For those that DO want the documents released will have an different address to send to."
"If $1,000,000 USD is sent to this account first; then the encryption keys will be made available to the world right away. So this is an equal opportunity for the documents to remain locked away forever or to be exposed before the September 28 deadline."
"Who-ever is the winner does not matter to us."
Romney is locked in a dead heat with Obama with two months to go before the election. One way or another, the tax return issue keeps rearing its ugly head.
Should Mitt release more tax returns?
Who are you voting for in November?