Amidst growing concerns of security on WhatsApp, the United Nations on Thursday has warned its officials against using the messaging app to communicate as it lacks secure mechanisms, international media reported. On Wednesday, Amazon chief Jeff Bezos revealed that his phone was hacked in 2018 through a WhatsApp message that was purportedly sent by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia--Mohammed bin Salman himself.
Farhan Haq, a United Nation spokesman, speaking to international media revealed that UN officials were barred from using WhatsApp since June 2019. He added that the senior officials were instructed not to use the communication platform as it did not support a secure mechanism.
This comes after two independent UN officials said on Wednesday that Bezos’ phone was likely hacked using a WhatsApp account associated with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in an attempt to influence news coverage of the kingdom. According to international reports, Amazon CEO's phone had mysteriously started sharing huge amounts of data immediately after receiving a video file from the de facto ruler of the Kingdom's WhatsApp account in May 2018. This file was sent a few weeks after the two had met for dinner at Los Angeles and exchanged numbers.
Furthermore, the relationship between one of the richest man in the world and Saudi Prince deteriorated after the murder of Washington Post columnist, Jamal Khashoggi. The gruesome killing was followed by a report on the newspaper on how a Saudi hit squad murdered the journalist in Istanbul and a Saudi Twitter campaign which targetted The Post and Bezos.
The alleged involvement of Saudi Crown Prince and his inner circle in the hacking of The Washington Post owner’s phone gave another direction to Khashoggi's murder. This setback for MBS comes after it has been trying to portray the country in a better light.
In December, Saudi Arabia court convicted eight people in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi but exonerated inner circle of MBS. However, with the increasing allegations, the Saudi Arabia Embassy to the United States has rejected the claims and called for an investigation.
(With inputs from Agencies )