A previously unknown hacker group, the YCA (Yemen Cyber Army) took credit for the hacks that obtained the trove of Saudi Arabian government emails the group recently released. The main thing the emails revealed was that Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich Arab countries use their money as a tool to influence political and diplomatic decisions in the Middle East and worldwide. These revelation were not surprising, but some of the details were.
It appears that Iran and Russia is behind this hack because the Iran backed Shia rebels in Yemen do not have the technical resources to crack the formidable network defenses the Saudis are known to have built. In fact, not all departments of the Saudi government appear to have been hacked. This is indicative of the high-end defenses the Saudis have bought, which isolates different bureaucracies networks so hacking one does not get you into all the others.
The YCA is still in the midst of releasing the million or more emails they obtained, so more details of the hack will become evident as more emails appear. The ones released so far confirm a lot of suspicions and hurt the Saudis by naming the people they have bribed and detailing the size (some over $200 million) of the bribes and other favors. This will make it more difficult to use bribes as those known to have already benefitted suffered embarrassment and loss of political influence and power because details became public. The Saudi bribes were often to weaken Israel and play down the popularity for Islamic terrorism among many Arabs. The bribes also sought to suppress discussion of Arab government support of Islamic terrorist groups. Because of the terrorism angle some people, in Western countries, could be prosecuted for being secretly in service to the Saudis.
All this Saudi dollar diplomacy goes back to the early 1970s, when OPEC (the Arab dominated oil cartel) was formed and the price of oil more than doubled. Most of the new cash went to Saudi Arabia and a lot of it was donated to Islamic charities. These groups, and the Saudi government, then sent money (to build mosques and religious schools) and missionaries to Moslem countries to spread the very conservative brand of Saudi Sunni Islam. This and the Iranian revolution of 1979 (that created a Shia Moslem religious dictatorship in Iran during the 1980s) are the cause of most of the subsequent increase in Islamic terrorism. The Islamic radicals were inspired, and able to network, in Pakistan during the 1980s, where the Saudis supplied billions of dollars for weapons and other supplies to support Afghan tribesmen fighting Russians in Afghanistan. Thousands of Islamic radicals from all over the world went to Pakistan to help out. Moslems pitched this as a jihad and a victory, despite the fact that the Russians left more because of economic collapse in the Soviet Union than anything else. But Islam has always thrived on fictional victories and that continues.
The Saudis continue to support Islamic terror groups, even though many of these same groups want to seize control of Saudi Arabia and establish a religious dictatorship (and execute every member of the House of Saud they can grab along the way). The Saudis are looking at the big pressure and the perceived greater danger posed by Shia Iran, which wants an Iranian Shia clergy controlling the holy places in Saudi Arabia. In this scenario Iran would also control the Saudi oil as well. This is the ultimate Saudi nightmare and they are trying to buy and bribe their way out of it. That, however, won’t make their past activity disappear.