Saudi Arabia denies Jeff Bezos' phone was hacked via WhatsApp from crown prince

Mohammed bin Salman and Jeff Bezos.

Saudi Arabia has denied Jeff Bezos' phone was hacked via WhatsApp by the crown prince, saying the suggestion is "absurd".

The billionaire's phone was hacked in 2018 after receiving a WhatsApp message that had been sent from the personal account of Saudi's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Guardian reports.

The encrypted message from the number used by the crown prince is believed to have included a malicious file that infiltrated the phone Bezos had used and extracted large amounts of data within hours, the report said.

According to digital forensic analysis, it was "highly probable" the hack was triggered by the malicious video file.

READ ALSO: Jeff Bezos: World's richest man agrees Sh3.5 trillion divorce

Sources told the newspaper the file was sent when the pair were having an apparently friendly chat on May 1.

It is not known what information was taken or how it was used.

However, questions could be raised about how the National Enquirer came to publish intimate details about the billionaire's life nine months later.

The National Enquirer report Bezos was dating Lauren Sanchez. Photo: Getty Images.

The alleged hack also came just five months before the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, who worked for the Washington Post newspaper which Bezos owns.

READ ALSO: Saudi prince threatened to use bullet on Jamal Khashoggi a year before murder

The relationship between the Amazon chief executive and the Saudi government had soured since early last year after he alluded to Saudi Arabia's displeasure at the Washington Post's coverage of Khashoggi's murder.

Bezos' security chief said at the time that Saudi had access to his phone and gained private information from it involving text messages between him and a former television anchor, who the National Enquirer tabloid newspaper said Bezos was dating.

The reports could have implications for the crown prince as he tries to bring investors to Saudi Arabia.

READ ALSO: Khashoggi offered cup of tea before being drugged, killed and cut into pieces

"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's U.S. embassy said in a message posted on Twitter.


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