FBI Paid Upwards of $1.3 Million to Unlock San Bernardino Shooter’s iPhone
United States Federal Bureau of Investigations Director James Comey today gave some hints on how much the agency paid to access the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook, suggesting a sum upwards of $1.3 million.
According to Reuters, Comey said the FBI paid an amount exceeding what he will make in the next seven years and four months as director of the FBI. Comey’s annual salary is at $183,300, and without raises or bonuses, will result in earnings of $1.34 million.
Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum in London, Comey was asked by a moderator how much the FBI paid for the software that eventually broke into the iPhone.
“A lot. More than I will make in the remainder of this job, which is seven years and four months for sure,” Comey said. “But it was, in my view, worth it.”
According to anonymous law enforcement officials, Farook’s iPhone did not contain contacts or messages resulting in new leads in the investigation, but it did clarify that Farook did not make contact with a third-party following the attack, suggesting he and his wife did not have assistance from friends or family members.
The FBI reportedly paid the sum in question to “professional hackers,” at least one of which is a “gray hat” researcher that sells security flaws to governments, black market groups, and companies creating surveillance tools.
The method used to gain entry to the iPhone 5c owned by Farook does not work on the iPhone 5s or newer, but the FBI can continue to use it to access iPhone 5c devices running iOS 9.
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