An Israeli firm sought to influence more than 30 elections around the world for clients by hacking, sabotage and spreading disinformation, according to an undercover media investigation published Wednesday.
The firm was dubbed ‘Team Jorge’ by investigating journalists who posed as potential clients in order to gather information on its methods and capabilities.
Its boss, Tal Hanan, is a former Israeli special forces operative who boasted of being able to control supposedly secure Telegram accounts and thousands of fake social media profiles, as well as planting news stories, the reports say.
The investigation was carried out by a consortium of journalists from 30 outlets, including the Guardian in Britain, Le Monde in France, Der Spiegel in Germany and El Pais in Spain, under the direction of the France-based non-profit Forbidden Stories.
It adds to a growing body of evidence that shadowy private firms across the world are profiting from invasive hacking tools and the power of social media platforms to manipulate public opinion and to sway voters.
Read more: Israeli firm dubbed ‘Team Jorge’ ‘meddled in more than 30 elections around the world through hacking, sabotage and disinformation with “black ops” service fronted by ex special forces operative’