Jeff Bezos’s Phone Hacked by Saudi Crown Prince

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was reportedly hacked by Saudi Arabia crown prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2018, according to a new bombshell report from The Guardian's Stephanie Kirchgaessner.

The Guardian reported on Tuesday that the Amazon billionaire received a message from Mohammed Bin Salman's personal phone number which contained a malicious file. An analysis of Bezos' phone reportedly revealed that following a seemingly friendly conversation between the two men, the video file sent by the crown prince corrupted Bezos' phone and made large amounts of data vulnerable, eventually leading to embarrassing leaks.

It was five months before Jamal Khashoggi - a columnist for Bezos' newspaper, The Washington Post - was murdered by the Saudi Arabian regime.

For one, it will make that much harder for the U.S. government to skirt the question of whether Mohammad bin Salman was directly responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, Turkey, in October 2018.

Gavin de Becker, a security consultant for Bezos, in April had accused Saudi Arabia of accessing Bezos's phone before the tabloid exposed the affair.

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

The National Enquirer subsequently reported on an extramarital affair between Bezos and Lauren Sanchez, a former television anchor.

According to The Guardian's sources, Agnès Callamard, the United Nations special rapporteur who investigates extrajudicial killings, has been made aware of the apparent hack by Saudi Arabia.

Bezos said that unless he and De Becker signed an agreement in which they publicly stated that their probe had not discovered "any form of electronic eavesdropping or hacking in their news-gathering process", and was not "instigated, dictated or influenced in any manner by external forces, political or otherwise", the Enquirer would release the billionaire's intimate selfies.

De Becker and Amazon didn't immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

The Guardian understands a forensic analysis of Bezos's phone, and the indications that the "hack" began within an infected file from the crown prince's account, has been reviewed by Agnès Callamard, the United Nations special rapporteur who investigates extrajudicial killings.

Investigators there are now considering a formal approach to Saudi Arabia to ask for an explanation, their unnamed sources say.

Saudi experts - dissidents and analysts - told the Guardian they believed Bezos was probably targeted because of his ownership of the Post and its coverage of Saudi Arabia.

Both Saudi Arabia and AMI have denied that the kingdom was involved in the publication of the Bezos story. Saudi Arabia has previously denied targeting Bezos' phone, but previous investigations had determined with "high confidence" that Riyadh was behind the efforts.

The Guardian asked the Saudi embassy in Washington about the claims.



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