Iran Hacked Phones of Netanyahu's Wife and Son, Saudi Report Says

Site claims devices breached in an attempt to eavesdrop on Netanyahu's conversations ■ PM's bureau: The report is false

FILE Photo: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with his wife Sara and son Yair at Mount Herzl on October 9, 2017.
Amos Ben Gershom

Iran hacked the phones of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife Sara and son Yair in an attempt to eavesdrop on conversations with the premier, according a report published on Saudi website The Independent on Monday. 

The Independent is not a major news outlet in Saudi Arabia, and the reliability of the report could not be confirmed. While the site is Independent-branded, the U.K. newspaper is not responsible for its content. 

Haaretz Weekly, Episode 19Haaretz

The Prime Minister's Bureau said that after checking with security officials, it was clear that the report was false.

The report claimed that it was unclear what specific information was obtained in the breach, which occurred months ago.

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This is the most recent revelation in a series of reports about purported hacking targeting various Israeli politicians.

Last week, Channel 12 reported that the phone of Benny Gantz, chairman of Kahol Lavan, was hacked by Iranian intelligence. The report was later confirmed by Kahol Lavan in an official statement that read: "We don't comment on issues that are at the heart of state security. It is important to emphasize that this incident happened four years after Gantz finished his tenure as chief of staff, [a fact] that raises many questions regarding the timing of the report's publication."

According to the channel's report, Gantz was approached by two officials from Israel's Shin Ben security service five weeks ago, during the election campaign, and was informed that his private device was breached. The two told Gantz that the hack into one of his devices occured around that time, during the election campaign, and that the Iranians have the content of his phone.

The report said that the Shin Bet officials clarified to the ex-Israel Defense Forces chief that this meant Tehran had access to all kinds of information he may have stored on his phone: personal and professional. Gantz was also informed that this served as a potential security risk, seeing as Iran might unveil information it finds on his cellphone after the election, or tamper with the election process. 

On Monday, Channel 12 reported that information from former Prime Minister Ehud Barak's computer and cell phone was purchased by Iran after hackers accessed the devices. According to sources, Tehran did not hack the devices itself.

Nadav Argaman, the head of the Shin Bet security service, informed Barak of the breach several months ago, the report said. According to the channel's sources, the breach was not a result of carelessness on the part of Barak and the stolen content did not contain embarrassing information. Barak and the Shin Bet declined to respond to the report.