Jeff Bezos phone hack shows hackers are winning in the 'arms race' between governments and tech firms according to a cybersecurity expert

Amazon CEO and founder Jeff BezosBCCL


  • The phone of Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos was reportedly hacked and the Saudi crown prince might have been behind it.
  • Check Point Software, the company that has reported on the vulnerabilities of Whatsapp, tells Business Insider that tens of millions of phones are being backed on a daily basis.
  • There's currently an ongoing arms race going on between hackers, governments and tech companies over cyber vulnerabilities.
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos was the victim of a malware attack. A UN report now suggests with ‘reasonable certainty' that the Saudi crown prince — Mohammed bin Salman — might have been behind it.

This is only one example of governments around the world are shelling out billions of dollars for hackers to find vulnerabilities on social networking platforms.

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Check Point Software — the company that has reported vulnerabilities with WhatsApp and TikTok— tells Business Insider that ‘tens of millions' of phones are being hacked on a daily basis around the world. And, many can still go undetected.

"Our database shows that tens of millions of cybersecurity incidents happen globally on a daily basis. Some threats, like cryptominers, operate quietly and are hard to detect," explains Oded Vanunu, head of products vulnerability at Check Point.

Jeff Bezos' hack made the headlines because he's a prominent personality worth billions of dollars.

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"Attackers can hack into anyone's phone whether or not they are in the public eye. The only reason why we hear of cases involving personalities is because they are famous," said Vanunu.

It's an arms race between hackers, the government and tech companies
Not one is safe from being hacked, and not using WhatsApp isn't exactly a solution. Even if you were to go off the platform, hackers would just try and exploit other vulnerabilities to gain access to your phone.

"Hackers attack based on general phone use habits – like the tendency to click on a link or a video – to inject malware into phones in order to gain access to confidential data. There are security softwares and tools that can help protect one's mobile phone from such an attack," warns Vanunu.

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According to him, It's a race of good forces — the cyber industry — that try to uncover such scenarios versus bad forces — government or offensive companies — with multi-million dollar budget to find vulnerabilities on these platforms to exploit. Jeff Bezos' phone getting hacked is one example of how cyber vulnerabilities can be weaponised to install spyware and take control of devices.

"The battle between bad actors and governments or tech firms is like an ongoing arms race. The challenge that most organizations and governments face today is using 3rd generation security technology that is at least 10 years old to protect themselves against current-day threats — 5th and 6th generations of attacks," said Vanunu.

And, these threats are only set to grow. Over the next five years, attacks are set to escalate and become more aggressive.

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As a user, Vanunu advises that rather than try and go off-the-grid, it's important to make sure that you have the right tools to protect your devices. Ensure that you install every update as soon as it's released and avoid clicking on suspicious links just because they have clickbaity headlines.

See also:
WhatsApp confirms Indian activists and journalists were hacked as NSO claims it's 'contractually prohibited'

Jeff Bezos' intimate messages, data from drug cartels, Jamal Kashoggi — the many things Pegasus is suspected of hacking before WhatsApp

Saudi Arabia denied hacking into Jeff Bezos' phone and called for an investigation into the 'absurd' claims

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