22 thoughts on “This is More than Hacking

  1. This is some what unbeliveable, and stealing is wrong but stealing the returns is small potatoes compared to stealing an election.

  2. Aunt B.,

    I have not been able to find additional coverage on other sites. This sounds like a hoax but no doubt the FBI will be investigating to make sure that it did not really happen.

    Of course it would not surprise me if someone tried to do this. The vicious rhetoric of extremists on both sides only serves to increase the chances that some wacko {or wackos} will decide that the end justifies some illegal action.

  3. Mark, I think it’s important to understand that hacker culture doesn’t really line up with political parties. The chances that these folks did this to help Obama or because they felt emboldened by partisan rhetoric is really and truly a misunderstanding of hacking culture.

    If Obama had something juicy hidden, they’d have gone after him (I’m sure the state of Hawaii has had some interesting cyber activity).

    They do this because they want to see if they can and they probably perceive Romney as having a certain level of hubris in thinking he could, in this day and age, keep something hidden from the world.

    His politics don’t really enter into it.

    And I think it’s possible that PwC felt somewhat safe and lax out in Williamson County, which made security easy enough to work around.

    The only thing that makes me think the story is a hoax is that they say they send copies to the Democratic party in the county and we all know there are no Democrats in Williamson county (ha ha ha!).

  4. Aunt B.,

    If I were going to hack an opponent, I would pretend to be trying to make money. Otherwise voters might suspect that my candidate was behind it.

    It would surprise me if the FBI wasn’t already monitoring Romney’s tax returns so that they can prevent something that might compromise the election. Image the political culture if either candidate were to be blindsided by some sort of illegal hack.

    There are liberals in Williamson County. It is true that more of them are Republican moderates than Democratic liberals but that is the nature of Williamson. You should check out the writings of Bill Peach. He is pretty much the last paleo-liberal in the county and a talented writer.

    He used to own a great clothing store. I will never forget the election year he ran a radio ad about how to dress like a Republican on a Democrat’s budget. Truly hilarious.

  5. Pingback: Claim: Anonymous group allegedly hacked Romney tax records via TN firm | No Silence Here

  6. Protection of the president and presidential candidates comes from the Secret Service. Not that that means the FBI does nothing. And surely the local law enforcement in Franklin probably called in the feds on this one, but jurisdiction matters and isn’t easy to violate.

    That aside, Mark, I really recommend you take some of B’s advice and try to expand your worldview to include more than two political parties or political activity alone – especially when the situation easily encourages it. Your follow-up only dug you in deeper. You’ve been boring many of us here for years since you only have one thing to say but find endless times and places to say it.

  7. Professor,

    I was not meaning to be offensive. I don’t even think that the hacking even is real.

    And I never said that Besty was wrong. In today’s world, it is entirely possible that someone could hack a major accounting firm. I just think that it is more likely to be someone who wants to defeat Romney.

    I am sorry that you find me boring. I generally learn a great deal from the posting. I guess I am just not as intelligent as some here.

  8. Aunt B.,

    The current chair of the Williamson County Party, the aptly named Kevin Kookoogey, isn’t smart enough to plug in a flash drive. He probably thinks ‘flash drive’ is movie about a small town where teens cruising in cars is banned by law and a right-wing pastor looking remarkably like John Lithgow.

  9. Just a jurisdictional note, for what it’s worth: The Secret Service would probably be involved here anyway in its candidate protection role, but it is also the lead agency investigating cyber-crime, at least within the Mid-TN federal law enforcement alphabet soup.

  10. Starting to smell a lot like Watergate. I know its meant to embarass Romney, but frankly, I think its going to garner him more than a little sympathy. Of course, nobody is going to expect Holder to look into it too deeply.

  11. People, for a DECADE it’s been accepted practice that the president can do whatever the hell illegal thing he wants–kill a 16 year old American citizen? Fine. Torture people to death to get bullshit information? Fine. Lie us into war? Peachy keen.

    If Obama wanted to release Romney’s tax returns, he’d just sign an executive order and have them released, and take the heat for that, rather than this rinky-dink bullshit.


    These are folks looking to fuck up the system, not operatives looking to game the system for Obama’s benefit.

  12. I am coming to Aunt B’s position on this, Even the wording of the messages seems hokey.

    We may discover that the ‘hackers’ couldn’t break into a rash or a song or even into a piggy bank with the help of Willie Sutton.

  13. So a comment on hacker culture here. Aunt B is right …….. To an extent. Hacker culture is far more varied than that though. To my mind, motives for something this intense, dangerous, and high profile would be likely to have ideological leanings associated with them.

    Please note, that doesn’t mean that the people who did this (If this is legit) actually support Pres Obama, just that I think they likely hate Romney. Hackers tend to hate rich snob jocks who want to lock everything down to make money and keep them from being able to experiment and play. Romney fits that bill to a T. There are definitely Democrats among hackers, but I’d say that the most common political leaning is actually anti-culture libertarian with a strong dose of Leave Me The F*ck Alone And F*ck Corporations.

    Long term ( > 20 minutes) physical penetration of a target is not something to be sneezed at in the risk assessment category. Neither is going after a high profile target like a Presidential candidate. People with these kind of skills can make money in other ways… like going after banks or doing legit penetration testing.

    Course, they may just want to be all “Dood. I just got Romney’s tax returns. Bahahahhahahaha”. That has a strong possibility. Heh.

    But yes.. breaking into places and stealing things is wrong, kids!

  14. I couldn’t agree more, B. This isn’t about partisanship. This is ‘look at me! See what I can do!’ In fact, I consider the whole flap about Romney’s tax returns a red herring, and a lame one at that. The trick for Obama has been to sell the fiction that his domestic priority is something other than protecting and furthering the interests of concentrated wealth. So it makes perfect sense Obama and his surrogates flog the meme that Mitt Romney is somehow worse than all the sociopathic pricks at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup (Obama’s base). I doubt many folks on the tax-hating right give a shit about how much Romney did or didn’t pay; the issue is red meat for the liberals who want to pretend that support for Obama is anything more than protecting middle-class liberal privilege.

  15. Plus, note that they also claim to have tax returns for major media. If I’m reading Ken’s first story right, they’re not trying to extort money from Romney–they’re releasing the tax returns (if they have them) no matter what.

    It looks to me, from Whitehouse’s quotes, like they’re trying to extort money from media companies not to release those returns.

    The Romney thing is just for kicks. Their goal is to fuck with the media. If I’m reading that right.

  16. Hacking culture is about power. Look what I have and look what I can do to fuck you up with it. Nothing more, nothing less.

    What was the quote from, who was it, Sir Edmund Hilary when asked why he climbed Mt Everest? — “Because it was there.”

  17. Beth: As someone who was part of hackerdom for about 11 years, that is a gross oversimplification. There is power involved, pure ego, and far more than that. Nobody and nothing is that simple.

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