A small video file was all that’s needed to hack the iPhone of Jeff Bezos

A small video file was all that’s needed to hack the iPhone of Jeff Bezos
While the FBI spends months of computing time and millions of dollars to crack an iPhone, others do it with a single text message. In case you haven’t heard, the iPhone X of Amazon’s boss Jeff Bezos got hacked… in 2018. That in itself was news enough, but things got more interesting after the blame for the attack was put on the Saudi crown prince. As absurd as it might seem at first, there actually is an explanation that makes sense.

The Washington Post, owned by Jeff Bezos, is running an investigation about the possible involvement of Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman in the murder of the WP journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The iPhone hack was allegedly meant to provide the crown prince with enough material to pressure Bezos to drop the investigation. So what did they get and how?

9to5mac has the full rundown of the events, but in short, Bezos received a video on WhatsApp, sent from an account belonging to the crown prince. The video contained some extra code, which was the malware that provided access to all the files on the iPhone. The file size of the video was about 4.4MB and the code hidden within it could have done its job even if the video wasn’t played, which is especially worrisome.

The malware allowed the attackers to copy personal data from the iPhone, including pictures and text messages, which were later used to pressure the billionaire.

The findings were made by the cybersecurity company Bezos hired to investigate his phone after the incident. Further proof of the Saudi’s involvement was the malware itself. According to the security specialists, it matched spyware used in other attacks performed by Saudi intelligence services.

Of course, the Saudi government condemns these allegations but might face a criminal investigation led by the UN.

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