FBI Paid Over $1m To Hack San Bernardino iPhone

FBI director James Comey has hinted that the FBI paid more than $1m to hack into the locked iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino attackers.

At an Aspen Security Forum event in London, Mr Comey said the FBI had paid an unidentified third-party more money than he will earn in his remaining seven years as FBI director.

His salary is $183,000 per year.

Mr Comey did not give a precise number but said it was "more than I will make in the remainder of this job, which is seven years and four months, for sure".

He added that he thought the payment was "worth it".

An Apple iPhone

An Apple iPhone

Video: Apple vs. FBI: Phone-Cracking

The Justice Department last month revealed that an outside entity had approached it with a method that could hack into the phone used by Syed Farook, who along with his wife killed 14 people at a party in December last year before dying in a shootout with police.

Apple, backed by other technology giants including Google and Facebook, was opposed to assisting the government in unlocking the phone on the grounds it would have wide-reaching implications on digital security and privacy.

Mr Comey said the litigation in the case had inspired a "marketplace around the world" for people to break into an Apple 5C running IOS 9, the phone Farook used.

"Somebody approached us from outside of the government and said, 'We think we've come up with a solution.' And we tested and tested and tested it, and then we purchased it."

He acknowledged the fundamental principles in conflict in the case and said he was glad that, at least in this instance, a way outside the court was found.

"Litigation is not a great place to resolve hard values questions that implicate all kinds of things that all of us care about," he said.

"We have a problem where all of us share a set of values that are in conflict. We have to figure out how to resolve privacy and security on the Internet and on our devices with public safety."

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