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FBI wasted more than $1.3 million to break into an iPhone

by Todd Haselton | April 21, 2016April 21, 2016 12:45 pm PST

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Apple wouldn’t unlock one of the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhones for the FBI. So the FBI started looking elsewhere, searching around for hackers who could break into the device for them. Turns out the agency found someone who was willing to do the job. That hacker is probably enjoying his or her brand new boat right now, just tossing cash over the edge. See exhibit A above.

The FBI paid more than $1.3 million to break into the iPhone, according to comments made to Reuters by the FBI investigation director James Comey. Comey said that the FBI paid “a lot” of money to get access into the device. “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.” Eh, seems debatable, considering other news outlets have suggested there wasn’t any juicy information on the phone.

Reuters dug up public information on Comey’s salary, discovering that he pulls in $183,300 a year. “Without raise or bonus, Comey will make $1.34 million over the remainder of his job,” Reuters said, after presumably running the numbers through an abacus.

We’ll break that down for you – the hackers were paid more than $1.34 million, as Comey said in his own words. Could be $1.4 million, could be $10 million. Could be a yacht. With a helipad. And a basketball court. And champagne.

The lesson here? Hack for the government and you’ll get a sweet payday. Pay attention in computer science class, kids.

The FBI wants to know...

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Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...