UN Experts: Bezos' Phone Likely Hacked After MBS Sent Him A Message


The statement comes after the Guardian reported on Tuesday that Bezos, who is CEO of Amazon and the world's richest man, appeared to have had his mobile phone "hacked" in 2018 after receiving a WhatsApp message that had apparently been sent from the personal account of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia.

The report said a digital forensic investigation found it was highly likely the video file was the source of the hack, which is said to have captured large amounts of data from Mr Bezos's phone.

The U.N.is expected to release a report Wednesday showing that Bezos' phone was infiltrated after he received a malicious file from bin Salman's account, The Washington Post reported. Nine months after the hacking incident, United States tabloid the National Enquirer published intimate details about Bezos' private life.

Digital forensic experts started examining Bezos's phone following the publication last January by the National Enquirer of intimate details about his private life.

The CEO also suggested that the attack was part of a scheme that allowed the National Enquirer, a USA tabloid, to gain access to private texts he exchanged with a woman named Lauren Sanchez, with whom he was having an extramarital affair.

The UN has now backed up the claim that Crown Prince Mohammed was involved in hacking Bezos' phone, calling for an "immediate investigation" into the crown prince.

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On Monday, a Chinese woman was also ordered to quarantine in Thailand after contacting the virus , authorities said. According to officials, a man in his 30s tested positive after he had travelled to Wuhan in eastern China.

In December, a Saudi court exonerated bin Salman's top aides over the murder of Khashoggi, a verdict condemned globally as a travesty of justice but backed by Washington. The United Nations expert previously found "sufficient credible evidence" that called for the Saudi crown prince to be investigated.

Amazon did not immediately respond for a request for comment from the BBC.

The alleged cyberattack is said to have taken place months before the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a fierce critic of the Saudi government and a columnist for the Bezos-owned Washington Post.

The Guardian report notes that recent hacking revelation could potentially undermine the crown prince's efforts to lure western investors into Saudi Arabia.

The hacking is alleged to have occurred weeks after MBS met with several leading USA executives and "sought to attract investment to the kingdom" and he and Bezos exchanged numbers at a Los Angeles dinner, the FT reports. Bezos' phone was hacked and he had to endure personal and financial loss as he kept his individual and business data on the same phone.

In December 2019, Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor confirmed five people have been sentenced to death over the killing of Mr Khashoggi. Saudi operatives ambushed Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018 and dismembered him.