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The iPhone of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, was reportedly hacked in May 2018 after receiving a WhatsApp message from the personal account of Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Guardian newspaper revealed today.

Citing unnamed sources familiar with digital forensic analysis of the breach, the newspaper claimed that a massive amount of data was exfiltrated from Bezos’s phone within hours after he received a malicious video file from the Saudi prince.

The mysterious file was sent when crown prince Salman and Bezos were having a friendly WhatsApp conversation, and it’s ‘highly probable’ that it exploited an undisclosed zero-day vulnerability of WhatsApp messenger to install malware on Bezos’s iPhone.

“The forensic analysis found that within hours of receipt of the MP4 video file from the Crown Prince’s account, massive and (for Bezos’ phone) unprecedented exfiltration of data from the phone began, increasing data egress suddenly by 29,156 per cent to 126 MB. Data spiking then continued undetected over some months and at rates as much as 106,032,045 per cent (4.6 GB) higher than the pre-video data egress baseline for Mr. Bezos’ phone of 430KB,” the report says.

The Guardian said it didn’t know what data was extracted from the phone, but the hack happened almost 9 months before an American tabloid newspaper published intimate photos and messages sent by Bezos, disclosing his extramarital affair that leads to a divorce from his wife of 25 years.

Though the tabloid newspaper claimed it was tipped off about the affair by the estranged brother of Bezos’s secret girlfriend, the new evidence suggests, with moderately high confidence, that the leak is linked to the hack of Bezos’s phone.

images from Hacker News