FBI Paid Nearly A Million Dollars To Unlock San Bernardino Attacker’s iPhone

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 23: The official seal of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is seen on an iPhone’s camera screen outside the J. Edgar Hoover headquarters February 23, 2016 in Washington, DC. Last week a federal judge ordered Apple to write software that would allow law enforcement agencies investigating the December 2, 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, to hack into one of the attacker’s iPhone. Apple is fighting the order, saying it would create a way for hackers, foreign governments, and other nefarious groups to invade its customers’ privacy. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Right after December 2015’s San Bernardino terrorist attack there was a huge controversy when FBI asked Apple to write a version of iOS that would allow them to get into the attacker’s iPhone 5c. Apple denied FBI’s request and took a stand not to write special software to unlock terrorist’s iPhone, which was backed by almost everyone in the tech industry. Apple denied FBI’s request as it feared that allowing the agency to bypass iOS security would put its users at risk as it would have to comply with future requests as well.

Now it has been revealed that FBI had to pay $900,000 to an unnamed private company in order to hack into iPhone 5c in question and gain access to data stored on it.

The amount paid was made public inadvertently by Senator Diane Feinstein who cited FBI Director James Comey. Comey revealed the sensitive information in front of a Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. In a statement Feinstein said that there were good reasons to get into that device even though the agency had to pay $900,000 to get it done.

“I was so struck when San Bernardino happened and you made overtures to allow that device to be opened, and then the FBI had to spend $900,000 to hack it open,” Feinstein said at the hearing. “And as I subsequently learned of some of the reason for it, there were good reasons to get into that device.”

FBI insisted on keeping the amount spent on getting the iPhone hacked under wraps and has denied requests from different news agencies who fought to get the figure that was paid to the private company through Freedom of Information Act. Feinstein’s mistake however has messed things up for the federal agency. (Gizmodo)

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