A UN report that Saudi Arabia is likely to be behind the hacking of American billionaire Jeff Bezos concluded that software produced in Israel was used in this piracy operation.
Agnes Calamar and the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, David Kaye, confirmed that the analysis of Bezos’ iPhone on last year concluded with “medium to high degrees of confidence” that this phone Hacked on May 1, 2018 by an MP4 video clip received by the founder of the Amazon company and owner of the Washington Post in the WhatsApp app from the personal account of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The report, which was published on the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, pointed out that, within hours of receiving that file, a “large-scale and unprecedented” operation was launched to extract data from the Bezos phone, and during the following months information continued to be collected from the phone.
The report pointed out that the piracy operation was most likely carried out by electronic spying software used in other similar operations attributed to Saudi Arabia, indicating that the talk is about the “Pegasus-3” program produced by the notorious Israeli company NSO.
The report pointed out that this conclusion is based on the existence of other cases of phone penetration through this program through the application “WhatsApp”, which prompted the companies “Facebook” and “WhatsApp” to file a legal lawsuit against NSO.
The report stated that the same program was most likely used in May-June 2018 to penetrate the phone of Saudi opponents Yahya Asiri and Omar Abdulaziz, who are close to the Saudi journalist cooperating with the “Washington Post” Jamal Khashoggi who was killed by a Saudi security team inside the Kingdom consulate in Istanbul, Turkey in October 2, 2018.
The report stressed that this issue constitutes an example of the harm caused by the unlimited sale and use of spyware produced by private companies, noting the need to place the use of this software under more stringent control, especially by judicial bodies and competent national and international systems, to ensure that it is not misused, He continued that this issue shows the urgent need to impose a ban on the sale and delivery of electronic espionage technologies produced by private companies.
The report stated that in November 2018 and February 2019, the Saudi crown prince sent to Bezos letters via “WhatsApp” containing sensitive and secret details of the personal life of the American billionaire, in conjunction with a Saudi campaign against the founder of “Amazon” on social media because of his alleged opposition to the Kingdom.
The report stated that the former adviser to the Saudi royal court, Saud Al-Qahtani, who is considered by the media and some western countries to be among the most prominent involved in the Khashoggi case, despite the Kingdom’s recent acquittal of him, repeatedly contacted an organization concerned with managing an electronic campaign for criticizing the “Washington Post” and called for a boycott Bezos and his companies.
The report stressed that the alleged penetration of Bezos phone and other people requires the prompt launching of the United States and other interested parties, especially in “the continuous efforts over the years with personal and direct involvement by the Saudi crown prince in order to pursue the alleged opponents.”
Saudi Arabia has categorically denied allegations in the report of its involvement in the penetration of the Bezos phone.