FBI’s Payment to Hackers to Crack iPhone: $1.3 Million+

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey said yesterday that the agency paid hackers more than he would make in the remaining tenure of his job, which totals over $1.34 million.

Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum in London, FBI Director Comey was asked how much the FBI had paid hackers to crack the iPhone belonging to the San Bernardino terrorist.

Comey 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.

Reuters reports that Comey’s annual salary is $183,300. Over the next seven years and four months, the total sums up to $1.34 million.

The number easily breaks the highest ever publicized fee for a hacking job. Previously, information security and zero-day company Zerodium paid $1 million to hackers in a bounty for cracking the iPhone.

The US Justice Department dropped its court case against Apple after it revealed that it had unlocked the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone, putting an end to the stand-off between Apple and the FBI.

Related read: FBI Paid Gray Hat Hackers to Crack iPhone

Unlike earlier reports wherein it was rumored that an Israeli security firm had helped the FBI in cracking the iPhone, the agency had sought the help of hackers instead.

Comey added that the FBI will be able to use the software or backdoor developed by the hackers to use on other iPhone 5Cs running iOS 9, Apple’s mobile operating system software.

According to estimates from HIS Technology, there are nearly 16 million iPhone 5Cs in use, currently in the United States. Altogether, eight-four percent of iOS devices overall are running iOS 9 software.

While the high-stakes court case and legal battle is now put to rest, the debate of encryption is only beginning. In the future, there is certain to be more headlines made of encryption and cybersecurity for the everyday individual.

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