Jeff Bezos Phone Hack Explained: What you Need to Know for Your Own Security

Written By Alla Levin
January 24, 2020
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Jeff Bezos Phone Hack Explained: What you Need to Know for Your Own Security

How did hackers manage to hack Jeff Bezos’s iPhone? This is a question remains a serious cybersecurity concern since the hacking of Bezos’s phone.

The Amazon founder was hacked in May 1918 and this has raised many questions about the security of ordinary apps and devices which have become part of people’s lives.

What Happened to Jeff Bezos

According to investigation reports by forensic analysis by a team hired by Bezos, the amazing was hacked after receiving a Whatsapp message from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The investigation was vetted by the UN investigators who cited that though they didn’t have express access to Bezos’s phone, they could vet their FTI Consulting research.

It has been confirmed by the experts that the suspicious message contained a video file. The file transferred lots of megabytes of data from the iPhone without Bezos’s knowledge.

attack perpetrator was able to siphon over 6 gigabytes of data this way over the next few months, according to UN investigators.

Saudi Arabia has since denied the allegations that it was involved in the hacking and called for a thorough investigation into the matter.

“We call for an investigation on these claims so that we can have all the facts out.” The Saudi embassy in Washington tweeted Tuesday.

Mt Bezos’s first public remarks since the hacking indicated a tweet of his picture attending a memorial service for Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post journalist slain by Saudi agents in 2018.

The crown prince took “full responsibility” for Khashoggi’s death while denying personal responsibility

How the Attack Worked

The forensic experts didn’t find anything wring the Amazons boss phones. However, the video message contained some inscrutable additional code.

However, under normal circumstances, this extra code considered harmless and can only facilitate the transmission of WhatsApp messages between users.

Notably, Whatsapp scrambles its messages through encryption technology, the investigators couldn’t possibly tell contained malicious content by the hackers.

The experts are holding encrypted software as a focal point for data and national security experts to undertake additional investigations.

Citizen Lab experts hinted that there could possibly issue a solution for decrypting the software.

Does Jeff Bezos Phone Hack Cause Alarm?

It quite costly to pull off a hack similar to the one laid out in the report, cybersecurity experts say, and thus a waste of resources to use intrusion tools on most ordinary people.

The cost of cell phone costs between $50,000 and $150,000, according to James Lewis, a senior vice president, and cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

This is with the exception of powerful business executives and high ranking government officials who have a good reason to be worried about the hacking incident.

If you are a billion/zillionaire, politician, senior official, human rights activist, then you are you’re a good target for hacking.

Apparently, the list could possibly include Trump administration officials, the likes of Jared Kushner, a great fan of like Bezos, and who has been said to be in touch with the crown prince.

The white house lawyers have permitted the use of Whatsapp as long as the staff doesn’t share confidential information. An administration official told CNN that Kushner knows and follows the rules.

According to Sen. Ron Wyden, attacks like the one alleged in the report are part of a worrying trend.

CNN sent a letter to Bezos on Wednesday citing examples of the Saudi government purchasing hacking software from various vendors and asked Bezos to provide as much information as possible from the investigation.

Even if I’m not a Target, is there a Risk to Using WhatsApp?Risk to Using WhatsApp

It’s hard to determine especially from the perspective of this specific attack.

Whatsapp has faced security issues before. Recently the Facebook-owned Whatsapp sued NSO Group, an Israeli technology group on activists and journalists.

According to WhatsApp, the act was a form of “cyber attack” and closed off the software’s ability to further monitor users. NSO Group denied the charges and vowed to sternly fight the case.

The suit is still pending at the federal court in California.

NSO has recorded a statement to CNN denying any slightest involvement in hacking Jeff Bezos phone and threatened to take legal action against those upheld the allegation.

“We know this because of how our software works and our technology cannot be used on US phone numbers.

Our products are only used to investigate terror and serious crime. Any suggestion that NSO is involved is defamatory and the company will take legal counsel to address this.” The statement read.

Whatsapp has dispatched another update that addressed the vulnerability that sounds similar to Jeff Bezos’s iPhone.

The update addressed the flaw allowed attackers to compromise a WhatsApp user by sending a crafted MP4 file.

However, it’s still unclear if Bezos fell victim to this vulnerability or a different one.

Whatever the case may be, experts hold that stealing as much data as the investigation claims to have been siphoned from Bezos’s phone would most likely involve several vulnerabilities touching several systems in a particular phone as opposed to a mere WhatsApp vulnerability.

Ashkan Soltani, an information security expert and former chief technologist of the Federal Trade Commission said that an app-specific vulnerability would likely give the attacker the ability to run commands or access files within the targeted app.

What Can I Do to Protect Myself?

For you to stay safe on Whatsapp, you are advised to ensure that you have the latest version.

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