(NewsGlobal.com)- Climate activists were the targets of a mass hacking operation that happened in 2017, according to a recent report by The Wall Street Journal.
The Journal, citing messages that they were able to obtain, show that the hackers were a group that came from India and were hired by a private detective in Israel. The hacking group is alleged to have stolen data and emails from a few different prominent groups focused on climate change that were very critical of ExxonMobil.
Some of the groups included in that were Public Citizen, 350.org and Greenpeace. But, the most prominent group involved was the Rockefeller Family Fund. That charity has alleged in the past that ExxonMobil had hid climate change information from the public at large.
Lee Wasserman, the director of the Rockefeller Family Fund, told the Journal that he believed the person who hired the group of hackers, Aviram Azari, was “clearly working for corporate actors” based in America. He added that he hoped Azari would eventually own up to what he did.
Wasserman sent a tweet on Wednesday that also alleged Exxon “and its enablers are using likely hacked info to fend off accountability for what is, in my humble opinion, the greatest corp deception of all time. Sorry chapter for civil society.”
Not surprisingly, ExxonMobil denied any connection to the hacking. They sent a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation that read:
“Mr. Waserman’s claims regarding our organization are completely false. ExxonMobil has no knowledge of Azari, had no involvement in any hacking activities and has not been accused of any wrongdoing. To be clear, ExxonMobil has done nothing wrong.”
All of the environmental groups mentioned were present at a private meeting that was held in January of 2016. The goal of that meeting was to create a campaign that would establish Exxon as a “corrupt institution” in the mind of the public, the Journal reported.
After that meeting was held, The Washington Free Beacon published a copy of an email that detailed the agenda of the meeting. People who received the email told the Journal that they believed it was obtained through the work of hackers.
The Free Beacon has stood by its reporting, denying their ties to any hacking claims.
In 2019, Azari was arrested and hasn’t been cooperative with the investigators. He hasn’t revealed the names of any of his clients, even though an investigation is still ongoing. He pleaded not guilty initially that year, but changed his plea to guilty in April of 2022 for charges of participation in a hacking conspiracy, identity theft and wire fraud.
His sentencing was originally scheduled for March 29 of this year, though he requested that it be delayed. It’s now scheduled for June 28.
Azari is alleged to have provided the hackers with information that was related to their primary targets as well as some connected people to them, including their coworkers, friends and family members.