FBI paid under $1 million for iPhone hack; doesn’t know how it works

“The FBI paid under $1 million for the technique used to unlock the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters – a figure smaller than the $1.3 million the agency’s chief initially indicated the hack cost, several U.S. government sources said on Thursday,” Mark Hosenball reports for Reuters. “The Federal Bureau of Investigation will be able to use the technique to unlock other iPhone 5C models running iOS 9 – the specifications of the shooter’s phone – without additional payment to the contractor who provided it, these people added.”

“The Justice Department unlocked the iPhone in March with the help of the contractor after Apple Inc refused to bypass the device’s encryption features on grounds it could undermine security for all users,” Hosenball reports. “The FBI, not the contractor, has physical possession of the mechanism used to open the phone but does not know details of how it works, one of the sources said.”

Hosenball reports, “The identity of the contractor is so closely-held inside the FBI that not even Comey knows who it is, one of the sources said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Under $1 million, we can believe. The rest of it? Puleeze.


  1. If Tim Cook were smart, he’d include cracking criminal iPhones for Government & Law Enforcement at a million bucks a pop and include that new found income in Apple’s “Services” section Tim talked about during the earnings report!

  2. Less than a million dollars doesn’t sound like an amount a nefarious group could ever afford, or a solution that they would be able to develop with their own resources. I can’t see how keeping security at that level or adding backdoors could ever cause problems.

  3. I don’t see what the big deal is, it would have cost an extra 99 cents for instructions on how it works and FIB did not want to be seen as wasting taxpayer’s money.

    Do I really need a sarcastic tag for that?

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