Did Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Hack Phone of World’s Richest Man?
In one of the more bizarre stories coming out of the Middle East in recent memory, top US officials are taking security precautions after reports emerged that the cellphone of Amazon chief and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, may have been hacked by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. Bezos’s cell was allegedly infiltrated through a WhatsApp account belonging to the Saudi royal by using, according to a United Nations investigation, malware known as Pegasus-3, which was created by Israel’s privately-owned NSO Group. The UN team found with “medium to high confidence” that Bezos’s iPhone X was compromised by a video file he received from the prince in May 2018. Notably, WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, filed a lawsuit in October accusing NSO Group of employing the messaging service as a platform to spy on civilians. In a statement, the company denied the charges, saying it was “shocked and appalled” by the allegations. Meanwhile, US Sen. Ron Wyden this weekend called on the National Security Agency to investigate whether White House officials had been targeted. Much of the focus is centered on Jared Kushner, a senior adviser to, and son-in-law of, President Donald Trump, who is known to be close to the crown prince. Kushner, the architect of the administration’s soon-to-be-released Middle East peace plan, also played an instrumental role in ongoing trade talks with China. He reportedly has been instructed to get a new phone.