Strategy, Threat intelligence

Saudi investment conference website hacked, defaced

The website of the Saudi Arabian investment conference, referred to as “Davos in the Desert,” was hacked Monday and desecrated with anti-Saudi messages and a “Photoshopped” image of Crown Prince preparing to execute journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in early October. 

The defaced website, which included messages calling for the international communities to hold Saudi authorities “responsible for its barbaric and inhuman action, such as killing its own citizen Jamal Khashoggi and thousands of innocent people in Yemen,” was taken down after just a few minutes, The Washington Post reported.

Khashoggi’s disappearance after entering the consulate in Istanbul - and the shifting explanations offered by Saudi officials as to how he died - prompted an international outcry and accusations that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS, had ordered the killing of the journalist, one of his most vocal critics. 

The Saudi government has denied those allegations and claimed instead that Khashoggi’s death was a rogue operation gone wrong.

One of MBS' top aides and social media leader, Saud al-Qahtani, who was said to have overseen the Khashoggi interrogation via Skype, has been fired and reportedly appears to have resumed his previous role as chairman of the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones, according to a Reuters report.

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