Tech

Security consultants hired by Jeff Bezos think his phone might have been hacked by Saudi crown prince, report says

Key Points
  • A report from security investigators suggests that Jeff Bezos' texts could have been obtained after a social media account the Saudi crown prince owned sent a video file to Bezos.
  • Bezos' security chief has previously said that the Saudis obtained access to Bezos' phone.
Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive officer of Amazon.com Inc., listens during an Economic Club of Washington discussion in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

An outside investigation ordered by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos concluded that a WhatsApp account connected to Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, could have been involved in a hack of Bezos' smartphone, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.

The report offers one explanation of how the National Enquirer, a tabloid, obtained and published text messages Bezos had sent to his mistress, Lauren Sanchez. Around that time, Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos said they were splitting up after being married for 25 years.

The Saudi embassy in the U.S. dismissed the report, calling it "absurd" on Twitter, and asked for an investigation on the claims.

Bezos' phone received a video file from bin Salman's WhatsApp account after the two men had exchanged numbers at a dinner held in Los Angeles, according to Tuesday's report. The researchers had a "medium to high degree of confidence" of the link, the Financial Times said.

The report, led by FTI Consulting, comes almost a year after Bezos' security chief, Gavin de Becker, said last March that the company's investigators had come to believe Saudis had access to Bezos' phone.

Bezos, the world's richest man, also owns The Washington Post, which published columns from Jamal Khashoggi, who had criticized bin Salman. Khashoggi was killed by Saudi agents inside the country's embassy in Turkey in October 2018.

An Amazon spokesperson didn't respond to a request for comment.

Read the full Financial Times report here.

WATCH: Saudis accessed Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' phone and gained private data, security chief says

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Saudis accessed Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' phone and gained private data, security chief says