World’s richest person, Jeff Bezos’s smartphone was reportedly hacked via a chat message on Whatsapp. The reports say that the Whatsapp message was sent from the personal number belonging to Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman way back in 2018. According to the investigation, it is claimed that a large amount of data has been taken from Bezos’s smartphone within a matter of a few hours.
According to The Guardian, Prince and Bezos were reportedly having a friendly conversation on May 1, 2018, when the malware-infected file was sent to Bezos. The prince had actually sent Bezos a WhatsApp message containing a malicious file that managed to infiltrate his phone. The forensic analysis further revealed that the malicious file sent over WhatsApp was a video.
In February 2019, Amazon Billionaire, Mr. Bezos accused the National Enquirer of “extortion and blackmail” for publishing texts between the billionaire and his girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez. He claimed the parent company of the Enquirer, American Media Inc (AMI), demanded he announce that it is reporting of his private life was not politically motivated, or else it would publish a number of salacious photos, including a “below-the-belt selfie”.
Mr. Bezos went on to reference media reports about alleged links between AMI and Saudi Arabia and alluded to the kingdom’s displeasure at the Washington Post’s coverage of the murder of Khashoggi. However at the time Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir said the kingdom had “absolutely nothing to do” with the affair, adding: “This is something between the two parties, we have nothing to do with it,”
Saudi Arabia’s US embassy dismissed the report. In a message posted on Twitter, it said “Recent media reports that suggest the Kingdom is behind the hacking of Mr. Jeff Bezos’ phone are absurd. We call for an investigation on these claims so that we can have all the facts out.”
Recent media reports that suggest the Kingdom is behind a hacking of Mr. Jeff Bezos’ phone are absurd. We call for an investigation on these claims so that we can have all the facts out.
— Saudi Embassy (@SaudiEmbassyUSA) January 22, 2020
So from this one can learn that even the richest person in the world cannot save himself from being targeted by hackers. However, it also raises many questions regarding WhatsApp’s security practices or lack of it.