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The FBI Paid Hackers at Least $1.3M to Access San Bernardino Terrorist’s iPhone

Apple image — The iPhone 5C.

The FBI reportedly shelled out at least $1.3 million to the professional hackers that helped the agency break into the iPhone 5c of San Bernardino attacker Syed Rizwan Farook.

James Comey
James Comey

FBI director James Comey, during a technology conference in London, revealed, in a round about way, the size of the cheque the bureau wrote to the group of security researchers that found the vulnerability in the iPhone’s software.

While on stage at the conference, a moderator asked him how much the agency had to cough up.

“A lot,” Comey said, as revealed in a New York Times video. “Let’s see, more than I will make in the remainder of this job, which is seven years and four months, for sure.”

As the director of the FBI, Comey draws a salary of about $185,100 a year. Times that by seven years and four months, and the amount comes to approximately $1.3 million.

The FBI has declined to speak to Comey’s comments or confirm or deny the $1.3-million figure.

The security researchers, whose services the government has apparently used before, were paid a one-time fee for their help. The experts in question reportedly specialize in finding software flaws. According to a Washington Post report, at least one of the hackers to aid the FBI is known to regularly sell such information to security firms and the U.S. government.

The drama first began back in February when a judge ordered Apple to provide “reasonable technical assistance” to the FBI in the recovery of the phone’s data.

Apple CEO Tim Cook promised to fight the order, calling it “an overreach by the U.S. government.”

The drama ended — at least for now — at the end of March when the FBI withdrew its request, saying it had found a new way to access the data it needed.

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Jennifer Cowan

Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.

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