The phone of the Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos was hacked in 2018 after receiving a WhatsApp message from the personal account of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia.
In April 2019, Gavin de Becker, the investigator hired by Amazon chief Jeff Bezos to investigate into the release of his intimate images revealed that Saudi Arabian authorities hacked the Bezos’s phoneto access his personal data.
Gavin de Becker explained that the hack was linked to the coverage by The Washington Post newspaper, that is owned by Bezos, of the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Gavin De Becker investigated the publication in January of leaked text messages between Bezos and Lauren Sanchez, a former television anchor who the National Enquirer tabloid newspaper said Bezos was dating.
Jeff Bezos hired Gavin de Becker & Associates to find out how his intimate text messages and photos were obtained by the Enquirer.
Jeff Bezos blamed the Enquirer publisher American Media Inc of “blackmail” for threatening to publish the private photos if he did not stop the investigation. Jeff Bezos refused and decided to publicly disclose copies of emails from AMI.
In an article for The Daily Beast website, De Becker wrote that the parent company of the National Enquirer, American Media Inc., had demanded that De Becker deny finding any evidence of “electronic eavesdropping or hacking in their newsgathering process.”
“Our investigators and several experts concluded with high confidence that the Saudis had access to Bezos’ phone, and gained private
leaked text messages between Bezos and Lauren Sanchez, a former television anchor who the National Enquirer tabloid newspaper said Bezos was dating. ,” de Becker wrote on The Daily Beast website.
Now The Guardian provides additional details on the spying asserting that the intimate pictures were obtained through a sophisticated hacking operation directed by the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman.
According to anonymous sources of The Guardian, Bezos’ phone was hacked using a WhatsApp message from the personal account of bin Salman himself.
“The Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos had his mobile phone “hacked” in 2018 after receiving a WhatsApp message that had apparently been sent from the personal account of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, sources have told the Guardian.” reads the article published by The Guardian.
“The encrypted message from the number used by Mohammed bin Salman is believed to have included a malicious file that infiltrated the phone of the world’s richest man, according to the results of a digital forensic analysis. “
According to the sources, Bezos received a bait video file sent on May 1, 2018, that allowed it to infect its mobile device. The malicious code was used to spy on Bezos siphoning large amounts of data from his phone. The paper pointed out that at the time, the relationship between Bezos and the prince was good and the two were exchanging friendly messages.
The revelation could have severe repercussions, first of all it will complicate the position of Mohammad bin Salman and his alleged involvement in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, Turkey, in October 2018.
Saudi Arabia has previously denied its involvement in the murder of Khashoggi that was attributed to a “rogue operation”. In December, a Saudi court convicted eight people of involvement in the murder after a secret trial that was criticised as a sham by human rights experts.
The revelation will have a significant impact on the business relationships of the Saudi “MBS” with western investors in Saudi Arabia.
Another aspect to evaluate is the impact on the personal relationship between Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner with the crown prince.
US President always ignored the warning of the US intelligence and publicly expressed dislike of Jeff Bezos.
The Guardian asked the Saudi embassy in Washington about the claims, and later a message on Twitter refused any accusation and labeled them as “absurd”.
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
The UN as announced the imminent release of an investigation.
NEW: Saudi crown prince implicated in hack of Jeff Bezos’s phone, U.N. report will say @mffisher @zeitchikWaPo https://t.co/kiyXxSncfJ
— Ellen Nakashima (@nakashimae) January 22, 2020