Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos had his mobile phone “hacked” in May 2018 after receiving a WhatsApp message from a personal account belonging to the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, according to the Guardian.
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The encrypted message came from a number used by Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi leader known by the initials MBS.
According to the results of a digital forensic analysis, the message is believed to have included a malicious file that infiltrated the phone.
The analysis found it “highly probable” that the intrusion into the phone was triggered by an infected video file, according to the Guardian.
The two men had been having a WhatsApp exchange May 1 when the file was reportedly sent.
Large amounts of data were extracted from Bezos’ phone within hours, but it has not been determined what that data contained.
The Saudi Embassy in Washington responded to the Guardian about the claims in a tweet, saying the suggestion of Saudi Arabia's involvement was “absurd.”
Details from Bezos’ private life were disclosed nine months later when the National Enquirer published text messages reportedly involving Bezos.
The Guardian report may revive scrutiny surrounding the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post writer who was killed in October 2018 – five months after the alleged “hack” against the newspaper’s owner.
Saudi Arabia has previously denied it targeted Bezos’ phone, and has insisted the Khashoggi murder was the result of a “rogue operation.”
A lawyer for Bezos said to the Guardian, “I have no comment on this except to say that Mr. Bezos is cooperating with investigations.”