In an interesting situation of one big corporate accusing the other, WhatsApp has squarely blamed Apple’s software for Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ iPhone being hacked. WhatsApp says the fault occurred on Bezos’ phone after he received and downloaded a 4.4MB video on his device within WhatsApp. That video might have carried some malware which the iPhone’s software failed to detect and stop. To that extent, the flaw lay with the iOS operating system, WhatsApp says. The Facebook-owned messaging app maintains that its end-to-end encrypted messages are unhackable.
In an interview to the BBC last week, Facebook's Vice President of Global Affairs and Communications, Nick Clegg, said it wasn't WhatsApp's fault because end-to-end encryption is unhackable and blamed Apple's operating system for Bezos' episode.
"It sounds like something on the... you know, what they call the operate, operated on the phone itself. It can't have been anything, when the message was sent, in transit, because that's end-to-end encrypted on WhatsApp," Clegg told the show host.
Clegg compared the hack to opening a malicious email, saying that "it only comes to life when you open it".
According to a report from FTI Consulting, a firm that has investigated Bezos' phone, after that the video file was received, Bezos' phone started sending unusually large amounts of outbound data, including his intimate messages with his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez.
Last year there were reports of an Israeli company, the NSO Group, had planted a snooping software in the WhatsApp accounts of around 1,400 persons, mostly journalists from different countries. WhatsApp still maintains that even the NSO scam was made possible due to the vulnerability at the end of the mobile devices and not due to any weakness in its messaging app.
The NSO Group has denied that it had anything to do with whatever happened to the iPhone of Jeff Bezos.