Mitt Romney, Republican candidate for the US presidency, is a self-made man, with the help of his millionaire father and his father's friends, and, as such, doesn't feel he owes much to the government, the least of which being any taxes. Offshore accounts haven't been invented for nothing, after all. That's the picture painted by the Democrats at least.
In any case, there is a lot of interest in his tax documents, from previous years, which haven't been made public. He says they're not important, his critics say he's hiding something.
So you can imagine that there's a big interest in those documents. Whether that interest is worth $1 million remains to be seen. But that's what one alleged hacker wants for them.
The hacker, or hackers, got access to the network file servers of PricewaterhouseCoopers, physical access, and managed to grab the tax documents of Romney and his wife.
The hacker says he will send an encrypted copy of the documents to news organizations and is demanding $1 million, converted into Bitcoins, to either stop him from revealing the key to decrypt the files or to provide said key.
"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," the Pastebin post read.
"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," it said.
That's the story as presented on Pastebin, at least. Whether any of it is true, we'll find out eventually. PricewaterhouseCoopers says it has no evidence of any breach. That's what the FBi said in the Apple case as well. The US Secret Service has said that it is investigating the matter.
The offices of both the Democratic and the Republican parties in Williamson County did receive an envelope with a thumb drive, but they handed over the data to the Secret Service. This sounds like a scam, not a very credible one at that, given that the people that received the envelopes didn't even take it seriously, but anything's possible.