FBI Paid Over $1.3M to Hack into San Bernardino iPhone, Says “Worth It”

Have you been wondering how much the zero-day exploit that cracks iPhone security is worth? Well, in the case of the iPhone 5c used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook, the bill was more than $1 million, according to FBI director James Comey, as cited by NBC News.

IPhone 5c yellow

Actually, Comey didn’t give the exact number. The sum is the result of some calculations based on Comey’s reply to the question: How much did the FBI pay for the tool that opened the iPhone. He said:

“A lot, 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,” Comey said.

Given that the FBI director earns about $180,000 a year, the NBC News reporter multiplied it by 7.3 years and arrived at a figure of $1.3 million. The FBI didn’t confirm the figure, though.

As you may recall from earlier reports, the FBI and Apple have been involved in a hot legal and media battle over this particular iPhone. Apple was ordered to assist the government in accessing the data on the handset by developing software that would weaken iOS security, but Apple refused to comply with the order.

Ultimately, the FBI found a way to crack open the iPhone, so it dropped the case against Apple. Although the FBI didn’t retrieve much data from the iPhone, from Comey’s perspective the $1 million dollar bill was well worth the tool they obtained.