Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ cellphone was “hacked” in 2018 after he communicated with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman through WhatsApp, The Guardian reports. An encrypted message sent from MBS’ personal account to Bezos on May 1, 2018, reportedly contained an infected video file, which likely triggered the hack of Bezos’ phone, according to a digital forensic analysis. Within hours, large amounts of data were reportedly taken from the phone.
The alleged hack took place nine months before the National Enquirer published texts and intimate pictures of Bezos and five months before Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Turkey. Iyad El-Baghdadi, who wrote in a Daily Beast op-ed last year that the Saudis were “trying to punish Bezos,” tweeted Tuesday that the Saudis were in Bezos’ phone until February 2019. He also said the hack was “about The Washington Post” and said others were hacked between May and October 2018.
Gavin de Becker, Bezos’ head of security, wrote in The Daily Beast last year that his investigation concluded with “high confidence that the Saudis had access to Bezos’ phone, and gained private information.” A lawyer for Bezos told The Guardian that the Amazon founder was “cooperating with investigations.” The Saudi embassy in Washington, D.C., has not spoken publicly on the matter.