Apparently, Saudi Crown Prince hacked Jeff Bezos's phone via WhatsApp
Last year, Gavin de Becker, a security specialist known for assisting the CIA and FBI, claimed that the Saudi government had hacked the phone of Jeff Bezos, the world's richest man. Now, building on that, forensic analysis has revealed that the source of the hack could have been Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman himself. Here's all about it.
According to people familiar with the matter, Bezos's phone was hacked following a text conversation between him and Prince Salman on WhatsApp. The message from the Prince, sent in mid-2018 (prior to the hack) appeared completely normal, but investigators found that it contained a strain of malicious code, which ultimately compromised the billionaire's phone as well as the data it had.
The person, who asked to remain anonymous, claimed that the investigators' analysis shows with "moderately high confidence" that Prince Salman's WhatsApp account was involved and the message sent from it led to the hack. Notably, a separate report from The Guardian also echoed the same concern, asserting that an 'infected video file' sent from the Prince's personal account breached Bezos's phone.
While there is no word on what kind of information was stolen from Bezos's phone, Becker had implied that texts the National Enquirer had leaked to make the relationship between Bezos and TV anchor Lauren Sanchez public might have been accessed through the hack. He had cited investigators and several experts to claim that the Enquirer and Saudis have had a business relationship.
While American Media Inc., the owner of Enquirer, maintained they obtained the texts legally, Bezos had accused the company of blackmail in February, claiming that they also threatened to leak his intimate photos unless he stated that the reporting on him wasn't politically motivated.
Becker had also claimed that the Saudis may have targeted Bezos as he is the owner of The Washington Post, which has run critical coverage of the Saudi government, particularly after the murder of its journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a Saudi consulate. Khashoggi's murder had triggered global outrage, with the CIA concluding it may have been ordered by Prince Salman.
Recent media reports that suggest the Kingdom is behind a hacking of Mr. Jeff Bezos' phone are absurd. We call for an investigation on these claims so that we can have all the facts out.— Saudi Embassy (@SaudiEmbassyUSA) January 22, 2020