Unlocking the San Bernardino iPhone cost the FBI over $1.3 million

By midian182 · 8 replies
Apr 22, 2016
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  1. 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.

    Permalink to story.

  2. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,728   +3,701

    Yes and they wasted tax money for what? What was on the phone? Better yet I don't want to hear any of their lies, trying to justify the cost.

    Yet this statement was still made.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2016
    Darth Shiv likes this.
  3. umbala

    umbala TS Maniac Posts: 197   +176

    Of course it was worth it in "his view" because it was the tax payers money spent on it, not his money. I think he would feel a little different if a big chunk of that money came out of *his* pocket though.

    Anyway, what a waste of time, money and resources. I don't know what they were expecting to find. Even if they found something "significant" it would be very outdated information and most likely useless anyway.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  4. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    $1.3 mil for an Apple phone. Now who doesn't think Apple products are overpriced? ;)
  5. SirGCal

    SirGCal TS Maniac Posts: 365   +136

    I told ya when they were doing this; all they might find is nothing, and some porn...
  6. cartera

    cartera TS Evangelist Posts: 365   +113

    They wound not tell us even if they did find anything.
  7. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,347   +1,990

    From the news reports I read, they stated that no valuable intelligence was found on the phone. My question was, did the FBI approach Apple in a nice way, explain what they were looking for, then let Apple crack it and inform them of what was found without sharing the "means and method"? I think Apple would have been a bit more receptive, particularly with a possible issue of national security. Hitting them over the head with legal action was both thoughtless and reckless, not to mention slamming the door on any future cooperation.

    It sadly points out just another of many governmental fopa's that keep occurring within the FBI. And they are surprised that the majority of American citizens simply no longer trust them? Really?
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  8. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,010   +2,536

  9. jhill3d71

    jhill3d71 TS Rookie

    So how much is a single life worth? That’s the real question. If they had a slim chance the info would save one life isn’t that worth the money? I think yes. Perhaps that’s exactly what the corporate apple has failed to care about.

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