FBI paid hackers over $1mn for iPhone hack

WASHINGTON: The Federal Bureau of Investigation paid hackers more than $1 million to break into the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino attackers, director James Comey said.

Asked at the Aspen Security Forum in London how much the US agency paid for help to get into the phone, Comey replied, “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.

Based on Comey’s salary, listed at about $14,900 a month, that comes to more than $1.3 million for the hack, the results of which have still not been divulged.

A video of Comey’s talk was streamed on the Aspen Security Institute website.

Apple and the FBI were headed for a court showdown setting national security needs against privacy principles after the agency took the smartphone maker to court to force it to break into the encryption-protected iPhone 5C.

The phone had been used by Syed Farook, who along with his wife Tashfeen Malik slaughtered 14 people at a party in San Bernardino, California on December 2 before dying in a firefight with police. AFP