Jeff BezosSource: Steve Jurvetson on Flickr

What you need to know

  • A report from The Guardian claims Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos's phone was hacked by the crown prince of Saudi Arabia in 2018.
  • The crown prince reportedly gained access to the Amazon Boss's phone by exploiting a WhatsApp vulnerability to inject Pegasus spyware.
  • Saudi Arabia's U.S. embassy has responded by saying that the media reports suggesting the Kingdom is behind hacking Jeff Bezos's phone are absurd.

A digital forensics analysis has revealed that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos's phone was hacked by Saudi Arabia crown prince Mohammed bin Salman in May 2018. The Guardian reports that the forensic analysis has been reviewed by UN special rapporteur and French human rights expert Agnès Callamard.

As per the report, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia sent an unsolicited video file to Bezos while they were having a friendly exchange over WhatsApp. Within hours, "large amounts" of data were transferred from the Amazon boss's phone, although there is no information on the files that were taken or how they were used.

The alleged hacking took place nine months before the National Enquirer accessed Bezos's private data and revealed that he was having an extramarital affair with former TV host Lauren Sanchez. Roughly a month later, an investigation carrier out Bezos's head of security, Gavin de Becker, claimed that the Saudis were behind the hacking.

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If experts on the kingdom are to be believed, Bezos was targeted because of his ownership of The Washington Post. The publication had extensively covered the murder of its Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered in October 2018 at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. The CIA later found in its investigation that it was the crown prince who had ordered the murder.

Saudi Arabia's U.S. embassy has denied the allegations and called for an investigation on the claims.

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