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Saudi Prince Hacked Amazon Chief Jeff Bezos’s Phone Through Malicious WhatsApp File: Report

File photo of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (Image: Reuters)

File photo of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (Image: Reuters)

An encrypted video file was reportedly sent to Jeff Bezos on May 1, 2018, after which 'large amounts of data were exfiltrated from Bezos’s phone within hours'.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: January 22, 2020, 8:26 AM IST
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The mobile phone of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was reportedly hacked by Saudi Arabian prince in 2018 when, during a friendly WhatsApp exchange, a malicious video file sent by Mohammed bin Salman infiltrated the multi-billionaire, the Guardian newspaper reported.

The guardian said the encrypted file was sent to Bezos, the owner of the Washington Post, on May 1, 2018, after which “large amounts of data were exfiltrated from Bezos’s phone within hours”.

In March last year, the security chief for Bezos had claimed that Saudi government had access to Bezos' phone and gained private information from it.

Gavin De Becker, a longtime security consultant, said he had concluded his investigation into 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.

Bezos had in February 2019 accused the newspaper's owner of trying to blackmail him with the threat of publishing "intimate photos" he allegedly sent to Sanchez unless he said in public that the tabloid's reporting on him was not politically motivated.

In an article for The Daily Beast website, De Becker said the parent company of the National Enquirer, American Media Inc., had privately 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 information," De Becker wrote. "As of today, it is unclear to what degree, if any, AMI was aware of the details."

In February 2019, the kingdom's minister of state for foreign affairs said Saudi Arabia had "absolutely nothing to do" with the National Enquirer's reporting on the affair.

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