Jeff Bezos iPhone Hack: Are other CEOs vulnerable to attack?

Jeff Bezos iPhone HackQuinceMedia / Pixabay

It has widely been reported that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ iPhone was hacked, but does that mean other CEOs could face the same sort of attack? The short answer is yes, because anyone and everyone is at risk from a similar sort of hack, including both iPhone and Android users. However, the risk may be even greater for public figures like CEOs of major companies. In addition to being CEO of Amazon, Bezos also owns The Washington Post, which places him in the news industry as well.

Details about Jeff Bezos’ iPhone hack

News reports indicate that Jeff Bezos’ iPhone hack occurred when he received what appeared to be an innocent message from Saudi Arabia. He received a video file that contained malware which gave hackers access to all of the files that were on his smartphone. Given that Bezos is the world’s richest person and the CEO of a major U.S. corporation, it comes as no surprise that he would be a target, but you don’t have to be rich and famous to become the target of hackers.

According to a forensic analysis reviewed by investigators with the United Nations, Jeff Bezos’ iPhone was hacked in May 2018 have he received a message via WhatsApp from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The message contained a video file that analysts say was larger than it appeared. The file allegedly contained code that implanted malware, and the phone then secretly transferred hundreds of megabytes of data off the phone. In the months that followed the hack, the attackers are said to have stolen more than 6 gigabytes of data using the same method.

Saudi Arabia denies it was behind the hacking of the Amazon CEO’s iPhone X. The Saudi embassy in Washington tweeted that the media reports suggesting the nation was responsible for a hack of Jeff Bezos’ iPhone are “absurd.”

Who might be at risk

The good news for ordinary people is that it takes a great deal of resources to pull off a sophisticated hack like the one that infected Bezos’ iPhone. Thus, some would question just how serious the threat is for the general public. However, other powerful people like Bezos, other CEOs and political officials should be concerned, especially if more evidence is found to prove that his phone was actually hacked.

According to CNN, mobile device exploits sell for $50,000 to $150,000, so the person buying them would want to be certain that they would be able to get something of value. Experts also warn that human rights activists, senior officials and politicians should also be concerned about their cyber safety.

One official of particular concern is Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who has also been reported to have communicated with the Saudi crown prince on WhatsApp. Attorneys for the White House have said that using the messaging app to communicate is allowed for administration officials as long as they do not discuss classified information and do keep records of their conversations.



About the Author

Michelle Jones
Michelle Jones was a television news producer for eight years. She produced the morning news programs for the NBC affiliates in Evansville, Indiana and Huntsville, Alabama and spent a short time at the CBS affiliate in Huntsville. She has experience as a writer and public relations expert for a wide variety of businesses. Michelle has been with ValueWalk since 2012 and is now our editor-in-chief. Email her at Mjones@valuewalk.com.