Early on, it was believed that the FBI paid upwards of $15,000 for a software hack that enabled them to access data housed on the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists. However, recent remarks from FBI Director James Comey reveal that the FBI likely paid a whole lot more.
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While speaking at a security conference in London on Thursday, Comey was flat-out asked how much the FBI paid for the specialized hack it acquired from a mysterious and still unnamed company. While not divulging a specific figure, Comey provided enough information to suggest that the FBI paid well over $1 million for the hack in question.
News of Comey’s remarks were first reported by NBC News earlier today.
Asked Thursday at a security conference in London how much the FBI paid for the tool that cracked Syed Farook’s phone and ended a California court battle with Apple, Comey said, “A lot, more than I will make in the remainder of this job, which is seven years and four months, for sure.”
The FBI director is paid about $180,000 a year. So multiplying that by 7.3 years yields a figure of about $1.3 million. FBI officials were not immediately available to confirm the figure.
Notably, we’ve yet to learn how the FBI ultimately accessed the iPhone used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook. Nonetheless, the FBI, in subsequent weeks, has been more than willing to provide their assistance to other law enforcement agencies seeking to access locked iPhones.
Now as for what the FBI unearthed once they gained unfettered access to Farook’s phone, reports indicate that nothing relevant was found. As the story goes, the FBI had an 18-minute gap in their timeline of Farook and his wife’s activities and they needed access to the iPhone to ensure that no third-party individuals were contacted.
All the same, Comey said that the high price the FBI paid for the iPhone hack “was in my view worth it.”