1. TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users. Ask a question and give support. Join the community here.
    TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users.
    Ask a question and give support.
    Join the community here, it only takes a minute.
    Dismiss Notice

Senator confirms the FBI paid $900,000 to access the San Bernardino iPhone

By midian182 ยท 13 replies
May 9, 2017
Post New Reply
  1. The iPhone 5c owned by Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the shooters from the 2015 San Bernardino terrorist attack, became a focal point for the privacy vs security debate last year. Apple’s refusal to build a backdoor that circumvented the handset’s security features led to the FBI purchasing software that did the job, but we never knew exactly how much it paid - until now.

    During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein inadvertently revealed that the FBI paid a third party $900,000 to access the handset.

    “I was so struck when San Bernardino happened and you made overtures to allow that device to be opened, and then the FBI had to spend $900,000 to hack it open,” Feinstein said at the hearing. “And as I subsequently learned of some of the reason for it, there were good reasons to get into that device.”

    In April last year, FBI Director James Comey said the amount the agency paid was “more than I will make in the remainder of this job, which is seven years and four months for sure.” Based on his $183,000 annual salary, Reuters calculated the total cost to be over $1.3 million.

    While the true price has now been exposed, it’s still unclear who the feds paid to crack the phone. Israeli mobile forensics firm Cellebrite is one suspect, though some believe it was a team of professional gray hat hackers. Details of the hack itself are also unknown, with some reports claiming the FBI will be able to use it again in the future.

    Permalink to story.

  2. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 4,586   +3,182

    Here goes my faith in how the government spends tax payers money...

    I'm joking! It's never been there to begin with.
  3. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,104   +1,587

    BTW: That was not paid to Apple - - they don't do business this way !!!!!
  4. maxxcool

    maxxcool TS Rookie

    Yup, it is easier to get 10x that from the normal public ...
    ForgottenLegion and Reehahs like this.
  5. Cal Jeffrey

    Cal Jeffrey TS Evangelist Posts: 1,840   +442

    Considering what they normally pay for things as mundane as hammers and toilet seats, $900K to crack an iPhone was a bargain. That said, John McAfee offered to have his team crack it for free. But yeah, then they wouldn't have been able to spend our money. So there's that.
    ForgottenLegion and Reehahs like this.
  6. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 4,162   +3,764

    Ah, Trumps spends that every weekend golf trip. I'm sure the recent health care debacle has made it clear politicians in the US will step over their constituents dead bodies for a dollar bill, so long as they are excluded from any harm themselves.
    ForgottenLegion likes this.
  7. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,579   +5,139

    Now our government is less one hammer, having to spend it on unlocking a phone.
  8. Jeff Schmidt

    Jeff Schmidt TS Addict Posts: 101   +87

    So they could have gotten the same information for free and faster from Apple if all they would have done is hook up the phone to there (the garbage people) computer and create a backup. What phones do they use at the FBI? Jitterbugs?

    Oh and I forgot then they "spilled" water on it after they unlocked it. So the phone got ruined. Hmmm, money well spent by the government.

    I always thought 70% of the government was useless. But now I think its 90%.
  9. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 2,237   +1,671

    If I recall correctly, McAfee admitted later that he was bluffing.
    Cal Jeffrey likes this.
  10. Cal Jeffrey

    Cal Jeffrey TS Evangelist Posts: 1,840   +442

    Even if he was, the FBI didn't even entertain the thought of having it done for free.
  11. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,253   +699

    Well, Comey was right about one thing: it did cost more than he would make during the remainder of his job as FBI Director.
    spydercanopus, Phr3d and Cal Jeffrey like this.
  12. Sebastien A.

    Sebastien A. TS Enthusiast Posts: 37

    So the FBI themselves don't have some kind of hacker level people working for them that could have write the software????

    But on a brighter side, now they have the software and can use it again no?
    Unless the developper sold them a 30 days Trial Version HAHAHHAAA
  13. spydercanopus

    spydercanopus TS Evangelist Posts: 857   +127

    What the is told to the public and what is truth are never aligned. Apple probably opened their damn phone under some TOP SECRET program.

    But then again, we should know about that thanks to Wikileaks and Hillary.
  14. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,253   +699

    The firm probably just sold them their services, rather than any kind of standalone software the FBI could install and use on their own machines.

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...