Sir − yes, we had to check too − Nick Clegg says he’s “very, very confident” that Jeff Bezos’ reported phone hack was the result of potential security issues in the WhatsApp app.
The former leader of the Liberal Democrats is now a Facebook employee, and this week he told BBC Radio 4 that WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption meant Bezos’ phone could not be hacked via the app. He argued that, instead, the alleged hack must have made its way into the phone via the phone’s operating system.
Amazon boss Bezos reportedly had his phone hacked in May 2018 by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia (via The Guardian).
The newspaper quoted digital forensic analysts who said it was “highly probable” that a video file sent to Bezos, seemingly from the Prince, was the source of the infection.
Reportedly Bezos received a WhatsApp message from the Prince’s account, which included a malicious file. According to The Guardian’s anonymous source, a large amount of data was then extracted from the phone.
Officials from the kingdom have discounted the allegations, with the Saudi Arabian US embassy describing them as “absurd”. This has been the consistent line from everyone around the Prince and all related officials. The allegations are stringently denied.
Clegg is now suggesting that there is no way the hack could have taken place via WhatsApp.
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Sir Nick said in his BBC interview: “If someone sends you a malicious email, it only comes to life when you open it.”
However, security experts have found that some of WhatsApp’s security loopholes do not require users to open messages. The former politician did not acknowledge any of WhatsApp’s alleged security issues, some of which are detailed here.