Report claims Jeff Bezos' phone was hacked by Saudi prince

Mr Bezos' phone was hacked after receiving a WhatsApp message sent from Mohammed bin Salman's personal account, according to the UK's Guardian newspaper.

The mysterious file was sent when crown prince Salman and Bezos were having a friendly WhatsApp conversation, and it's "highly probable" that it exploited an undisclosed zero-day vulnerability in WhatsApp to install malware on Bezos's phone.

"Soon after the message was sent, investigators concluded, a massive amount of data was extracted from Bezos's phone", the news outlet notes.

The disclosure is likely to raise hard questions for the kingdom about the circumstances around how USA tabloid the National Enquirer came to publish intimate details about Bezos's private life - including text messages - nine months later.

The UN experts reviewed a 2019 digital forensic analysis of Bezos's iPhone, which they said was made available to them as UN special rapporteurs.

Saudi Arabia has denied that its crown prince was responsible for hacking Amazon boss Jeff Bezos' phone.

Saudi Arabia said on Wednesday that a media report that the Kingdom is behind the hacking of Amazon.com Inc founder Jeff Bezos' phone was "absurd".

Saudi Arabia maintains Khashoggi's murder was a "rogue operation", and has sentenced eight for their role in the murder after a secret trial described as as a sham by human rights groups worldwide.

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Ahead of the U.N.'s statement Wednesday, the Saudi embassy in the USA called the reports of the kingdom hacking Bezos' phone "absurd".

A private investigator hired by the Amazon CEO claimed later that Saudi Arabia had hacked his phone.

At the time of his death in October 2018, Khashoggi was working as a columnist for the Washington Post, a newspaper owned by Bezos.

Bezos himself first posited that theory last February, when he published an explosive blog post titled "No thank you, Mr. Pecker" in which he accused David Pecker, former publisher of the National Enquirer and CEO of the tabloid's parent company, AMI, of trying to blackmail him.

There may be a link between the hack and the killing of Jamal Khashoggi however.

This dispute threatens to inflame what is already a damaged relationship between Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman and Bezos, an American billionaire, who also owns the Washington Post.

On Tuesday, The Financial Times reported on the stunning allegation, which comes from a forensic analysis Bezos commissioned to determine the culprit behind the hack.

However, Gavin de Becker, a security consultant for Bezos, told The Guardian that he believed the Saudi Arabian government had accessed Bezos's phone before the Enquirer exposed the affair.

  • Delia Davidson