The mobile phone of billionaire Jeff Bezos was reportedly hacked during a conversation between the Amazon founder and Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the WhatsApp messaging service, according to reports.
Bezos was allegedly hacked in May 2018 after receiving an encrypted message from the personal account of the crown prince -- which is believed to have included a hostile file containing code that led to the infiltration of his phone, a digital forensic analysis said.
It was "highly probable" the infiltration was triggered by the infected file sent to The Washington Post owner, according to the Guardian. It was reportedly sent during what was described as a friendly chat between the two men.
Large amounts of data were reportedly withdrawn from Bezos' phone, the outlet reported. It's not clear what data was accessed or how it may have been used.
The file was reportedly sent weeks after the two exchanged numbers at a dinner in Los Angeles, according to the Financial Times.
The message was believed to be harmless until an analysis reportedly conducted by the firm FTI Consulting found digital evidence suggesting it led to the breach, the outlet reported.
Investigators reportedly started looking at Bezos' phone after the National Enquirer published details about his private life last January, according to the Guardian. The report by the tabloid disclosed an extramarital affair between Bezos and Lauren Sanchez, a former TV anchor. It relied, in part on text messages sent by Bezos, according to Bloomberg.
The allegations could disrupt efforts by the crown prince to lure western investors to Saudia Arabia, as well as the relationship between Saudia Arabia with Silicon Valley.
The Guardian said it could also revive scrutiny over what the crown prince was doing prior to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi -- The Washington Post writer killed five months after the alleged hacking of its owner took place.
The country has previously denied it targeted Bezos' phone and said the murder of Khashoggi was due to a "rogue operation," the outlet said.
The Saudi Embassy called reports of the alleged hacking "absurd" on Twitter on Tuesday night.
"Recent media reports that suggest the Kingdom is behind a hacking of Mr. Jeff Bezos' phone are absurd," the embassy said. "We call for an investigation on these claims so that we can have all the facts out."
A United Nations investigation is scheduled to be released Wednesday, which will report on the alleged hacking of Bezos, according to The Washington Post.