Hack

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' phone was allegedly hacked by Saudi Arabia

Friday, January 24, 2020 by Robinhood Snacks |
_When you click on a funny cat video, but it's actually a Saudi hack_

When you click on a funny cat video, but it's actually a Saudi hack

Earth's richest man and the Saudi Crown Prince... walk into a WhatsApp chat. The personal phone of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was allegedly hacked by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS). Not a headline you see every day. Let's rewind:

  • April 2018: Bezos and MBS exchange numbers at a dinner party in LA.
  • May 2018: MBS sends Bezos a Saudi tourism video over WhatsApp (stars are just like us).
  • January 2020: Except... not really. UN forensic analysis indicates Bezos' entire phone was likely hacked from the video (data flowing out of his phone surged by 30,000% after the vid).

Why so hacky?... Jeff Bezos has owned the Washington Post since 2013. Jamal Khashoggi was a WaPo reporter — and Saudi dissident — who MBS reportedly hated. In October 2018, Khashoggi was killed and dismembered at the Saudi embassy in Istanbul. The hack could've been an attempt to obtain embarrassing Bezos material for blackmailing purposes — using the leverage to influence the WaPo's reporting on Saudi Arabia.

THE TAKEAWAY

When you dip your feet in politics... the politics rain down on you. Bezos' business is tech. But owning a news outlet also makes politics his business, dragging him into geopolitical disputes that aren't related to his main biz (and that are possible risks for Amazon shareholders). Now, Saudi media is attacking Amazon (#boycottamazonproducts was trending there), and US/Saudi tensions over Khashoggi's murder are resurfacing.