In what is the highest known sum ever paid by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for assistance in hacking into a mobile device, FBI Director James Comey admitted the Department of Justice (DOJ) paid $1.34 million to gain access to the iPhone of San Bernardino terrorist, Tashfeen Malik.
“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,” replied Comey when asked how much the hacking cost.
The FBI withdrew its legal proceedings against the phone’s manufacturer, Apple Inc., in late March when it successfully gained access to information as part if the ongoing investigation into the San Bernardino terror attack.
In refusing to assist the FBI, Apple contended the creation of software was a form of free speech protected by the First Amendment.
The FBI retrieved information from the iPhone of the second gunman, Syad Rizwan Malik, in early December 2015.
The Department of Justice has since refused to reveal the identity of the third party or firm which assisted the FBI, nor has it revealed whether the job was completed by an American firm. However, rumors persist the firm tasked with the hacking was Israeli technology firm, Cellebrite, a leader in global digital forensics.
Comey added the Bureau is able to use identical software used in gaining access to Malik’s phone to hack into 5C phones using IOS software.
[Reuters] [cellebrite.com] [Photo courtesy bandwidthblog.com]