Cracking an iPhone ain’t cheap: FBI reveals the big bucks it paid for iPhone 5c access

The FBI would have loved to get Apple’s help in breaking into the iPhone 5c from its San Bernardino terrorism investigation, but Apple wasn’t playing ball. And before the courts could sort out just how much assistance the government could legally demand from the iPhone maker, the FBI backed out of the proceedings, claiming that it had managed to get into the smartphone without Apple at all. The agency’s been keeping tight-lipped about exactly who helped it access the phone in question, but today we’re learning a little more about just how this all happened, as FBI Director James Comey (above) confirms how much that help really cost.

Comey stopped short of naming a specific figure, but said that the FBI paid its iPhone hack source more than he himself has made at the Bureau – a figure just shy of $1.3 million.

Despite that steep price tag, Comey insists that the expenditure “was worth it.” That’s a bit of a surprising position to hear him take, especially as reports landing earlier this week suggested that the FBI has yet to find any useful information at all on the iPhone in question.

Perhaps simply finding out whether or not any secrets were hidden within was enough to justify that cost in Comey’s mind. Of course, he’s not the one footing the bill – the taxpayers are. As a result, we’re forced to ask ourselves, is there any price at which the FBI wouldn’t have considered this hack worth it? Considering how public the issue had become, did the agency need to get access at any price?

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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About The Author
Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!