After weeks of a very public back and forth with Apple over opening the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone, the FBI opted for plan B and possibly asked an Israeli security firm or some other shady hacker group to crack the device. And they paid a premium.
FBI director Comey told a crowd in London today that the bureau paid “a lot” to finally get inside Syed Farook’s iPhone. When asked to clarify, he said the US government shelled out more money than Comey would make for the remainder of his seven years and four months as FBI director. Multiplying that number along with Comey’s publicly known income ($183,300), you get $1.34 million.
It appears the FBI haven’t yet found anything on the phone. According to The Guardian, anything approaching seven figures is “extremely expensive” and Reuters reports it would be the largest ever paid for a hacking exploit, though transactions for these services are rarely publicly recorded. Regardless, Comey doesn’t seem too concerned even saying “It was, in my view, worth it.”
Whether that’s a reference to the data found or just simply avoiding a court battle with the most valuable company on the planet, who knows.