It’s been a few weeks since the FBI dropped its pending legal case against Apple after it paid a third party to help break into the San Bernardino iPhone. Now, we know how much of the taxpayers’ money was spent unlocking it.
The FBI hasn’t put an exact figure on how much it paid this outside party to bypass the security on Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone 5c, but director James Comey indicated that it was around $1.3 million.
Speaking during an on-stage interview at the Aspen Security forum in London yesterday, Comey was asked how much the government agency spent on unlocking the phone. “A lot,” he said, “more than I will make in the remainder of this job, which is seven years and four months for sure, but it was, in my view, worth it.”
Reuters did some calculations based on Comey’s $183,000 annual salary. Not taking into account any raises or bonuses, he will make $1.3 million over the remainder of his job.
Even though it’s an estimate, it still shows the enormous amount of money the FBI spent on the hack. It’s been reported that whoever helped the agency was paid a one-time fee for the assistance. Initially, the mystery group was thought to be Isreali mobile forensics firm Cellebrite, but a Washington Post report claims this wasn’t the case, and that the iPhone was unlocked using a zero-day exploit revealed by professional gray hat hackers.
Despite all the time and money spent on cracking the device, sources say that nothing of real significance has been found on the iPhone.