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It’s extremely likely Jeff Bezos’ phone was hacked by the Saudi crown prince over Whatsapp

Yikes.

jeff bezos whatsapp hack
Image: KnowTechie

Remember last year when investigators thought the Saudis were behind the hacking of Jeff Bezos’ phone? Well, it goes deeper apparently, with sources telling The Guardian that the malware that hacked its way into Bezos’ pants (and the contents of…) came from no other than the crown prince of Saudi Arabia’s own WhatsApp account.

The malware was in the form of an infected video file, sent in a seemingly otherwise friendly conversation on May 1, 2018. That’s a pretty good reminder to not open everything you’re sent on the internet, right?

Remember when Jeff Bezos’ phone got hacked last year? It was the Saudis, apparently

The richest man in the world vs the crown prince. It almost sounds like something out of a novel, but it’s been unfolding in real life.

Ever since Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post, he’s had a target on his back as an enemy of the Saudis for publishing pieces that painted them in a negative light. It seems that all came to a head in May 2018, when the crown prince’s WhatsApp account sent Bezos a malicious file that swiftly hacked his phone and sent large amounts of data out of the device.

The Guardian has a great timeline of the overall picture surrounding the hack.

Here are the parts that concern the hack itself:

  • May 1, 2018: Bezos and Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) have a WhatsApp conversation, in which the video containing malicious code is sent
  • Within hours, large amounts of data were sent from Bezos’ phone to the hacker (we have no knowledge of what this data dump contained, or how it was used. We also don’t know if MBS was using the account at the time, just that it was his personal account being used)
  • May 2018: Bezos sends sexts to his then-girlfriend, which include dick pics
  • January 10, 2019: National Enquirer publishes piece detailing Bezos’ affair, including SMS messages
  • February 7, 2019: Bezos publishes a blog post claiming the National Enquirer is extorting him
  • February 8, 2019: Saudi Arabia denies involvement in the hack, as does the National Enquirer‘s owner, AMI
  • January 21, 2020: The Guardian gets information saying that not only was it the Saudis, but the file behind the hack came from their crown prince, MBS

It’s likely that the tools used in the act came from the NSO Group, who has recently been linked to multiple high-level WhatsApp hacks. If so, Bezos’ digital forensics team will likely already know all they need to, as the NSO Group used Amazon Web Services to host parts of their tools. Now, who’s been caught with their pants down, eh?

What do you think? Surprised by the news regarding Bezos and the Saudi prince? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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