Jeff Bezos, the world richest man, had his phone hacked via WhatsApp.
The Guardian revealed in a report that Bezos’s phone was hacked in in 2018 after he received a message apparently sent from the personal WhatsApp account of Prince Mohammed of Saudi Arabia.
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As a result of the lacking a lot of data is reported to have been siphoned from the phone, an iPhone.
Yesterday, some UN special special rapporteurs said in a joint statement that they were “gravely concerned” by evidence they had reviewed:
UN human rights experts are gravely concerned by information they have received suggesting that, in contravention of fundamental international human rights standards, a WhatsApp account belonging to the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2018 deployed digital spyware enabling surveillance of The Washington Post owner and Amazon CEO, Jeffery Bezos.
“The information we have received suggests the possible involvement of the Crown Prince in surveillance of Mr. Bezos, in an effort to influence, if not silence, The Washington Post’s reporting on Saudi Arabia. The allegations reinforce other reporting pointing to a pattern of targeted surveillance of perceived opponents and those of broader strategic importance to the Saudi authorities, including nationals and non-nationals. These allegations are relevant as well to ongoing evaluation of claims about the Crown Prince’s involvement in the 2018 murder of Saudi and Washington Post journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.”
The UN rapporteurs said that the billionaire’s iPhone was believed to have been infected by malware via an MP4 video file sent from the crown prince. Within hours of receipt of the MP4 video file, a huge “exfiltration” of data began. The amount of data leaving the phone increased enormously and continued undetected for several months.
The rapporteurs have demanded an immediate investigation. You can read the full UN statement here.
Saudi Arabia had dismissed the reports as “absurd”.
The Guardian reports a possible connection between the phone hacking and the exposing of Bezos’s extramarital affair in the media in January 2019.
Jeff Bezos is the world richest man, with a total net worth of US$116.7 billion (January 2020). In addition the Washington Post, also owns Amazon.com, one of the world’s largest ecommerce companies. In July 2018, Bezos was named the “richest man in modern history” after his net worth increased to $150 billion.