Bezos Hacked: Amazon Boss Was Reportedly Hacked by the Saudi Crown Prince
Amazon chief Jeff Bezos had his phone hacked when he received a WhatsApp message sent from the personal account of Mohammed bin Salman (aka MBS) in 2018. Guardian reports that the two had "attended a dinner together in Hollywood a few weeks earlier, [...] as part of the young crown prince’s tour of America, which was hailed by some observers as an effort to rebrand the kingdom and set it on a new course."
Citing unnamed sources, the publication added that a forensic analysis revealed that it is "highly probable" the video contained malware that infiltrated Bezos’s phone and managed to steal a large amount of data in a few hours. Bezos had nothing to fear since the two were reportedly engaged in a friendly WhatsApp exchange when this malicious file dropped on May 1.
The incident happened just a few months before the murder of the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, who was employed by Bezos's Washington Post. CIA had concluded that MBS ordered the killing.
"The extraordinary revelation that the future king of Saudi Arabia may have had a personal involvement in the targeting of the American founder of Amazon will send shockwaves from Wall Street to Silicon Valley," the Guardian notes.
Not the first time Saudi crown prince is in news for hacking into the phone of Jeff Bezos
This wouldn't be the first time that the Saudi leadership has been accused of trying to hack into Bezos's phone. Amazon chief's security team has been examining his phone since the CEO's private texts about his affair were obtained and published by a tabloid owned by American Media Inc (AMI). While AMI continued to suggest it was tipped off about the affair by the brother of Bezos’s girlfriend, the investigation by his own team said with “high confidence” that the Saudis had managed to “access” Bezos’s phone to gain private information about him. AMI CEO David Pecker reportedly had a close relationship with MBS.
Coming back to the latest report by the Guardian, the publication said that the forensic analysis has been reviewed by Agnès Callamard, the UN special rapporteur who investigates extrajudicial killings. "It is understood that it is considered credible enough for investigators to be considering a formal approach to Saudi Arabia to ask for an explanation," the publication added.
Bezos has declined to comment to the reporters with his lawyer saying that the Amazon billionaire is cooperating with investigations. The Saudi Arabian government hasn't yet commented on the Guardian's report.