How Saudi cyber chief spent years acquiring hacking tools thought to have been used on Bezos

Mail Online | 5/1/2018 | Chris Pleasance for MailOnline
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Saudi Arabia has been accused of using spy software to hack the phone of Jeff Bezos - after years of acquiring such tools, often at the cost of millions of dollars.

The effort was led by Saud al-Qahtani, head of cybersecurity in the kingdom and a confidant of Mohammed bin Salman until was blamed for orchestrating Jamal Khashoggi's murder in 2018 and reportedly placed under house arrest.

Qahtani - Bailout - Firm - Hacking - Team

Qahtani is thought to have been behind a bailout of Italian firm Hacking Team in 2016, after Saudi spent some $5.5million with the company between 2010 and 2015.

He is also thought to have paid some $55million to Israeli cyber firm NSO Group in 2017 to get hold of hacking software it had developed targeting WhatsApp.

Technology - Khashoggi - Phone - Death

That technology was allegedly used to hack Khashoggi's phone before his death.

Now the UN has said there is evidence that another piece of NSO technology was used to target Bezos.

Amazon - Founder - Account - Bin - Salman

The Amazon founder is thought to have been targeted by the personal account of Bin Salman, using a corrupted video file sent to him on May 1, 2018.

The file is though to have contained a spying program called Pegasus, described by security firm Kaspersky as 'the ultimate spyware'.

Pegasus - Thanks - Rights - Activist - UAE

Pegasus was first uncovered in 2016 thanks to a human rights activist from the UAE who forwarded it on to tech experts after suspecting he had been targeted.

They found that the software would have allowed the sender to read his messages, activate his camera and microphone, read his messages and mail, log key presses, listen to calls, and extract his browser history and contacts.


The program is even capable...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Mail Online
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