The FBI paid more than $1.4m to hackers who developed a way to gain access to the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino attackers, leading the law enforcement agency to drop litigation against Apple intended to force the company to help break into the device.
James Comey, director of the FBI, said on Thursday that the cost was “worth it”, but added that an accommodation needed to be made with Apple and other technology companies in the future, as paying outside technologists to find ways to access highly-encrypted messages on phones used by terrorist suspects was not “scalable.”
Speaking at an Aspen Security Forum event in London on Thursday, Mr Comey said: “We were able to get into the phone because, in an odd way, all the controversy around the litigation stimulated a marketplace around the world?.?.?.?for people trying to figure out if they could they break into Apple 5C running iOS9 — and those details matter because that’s the phone that the terrorists left behind.”
He added that: “Somebody approached from outside the government [with a solution]. We tested it and tested it, then we purchased it.”
Asked how much the FBI paid, he said: “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?.?.?.?I think it was very, very important that we got into that device.”
Mr Comey’s annual salary was $183,800 last year, suggesting his agency paid about $1.4m to the as-yet-unknown hackers who developed the method to break into the device.
The FBI director added that he wanted to find a long-term solution with technology groups such as Apple and Facebook, which both used end-to-end encryption on some of their messaging services, to avoid the need to pay outside parties if confronted with a similar situation in the future.
“I’m hoping we can get to a sensible solution that doesn’t involve hacking and that doesn’t involving spending loads of money,” he said.
周四，科米在伦敦“阿斯彭安全论坛”(Aspen Security Forum)的一次活动上讲话时表示：“我们之所以能够破解这部手机，是因为这起诉讼引发的各种争论以一种离奇的方式，为那些想弄清自己是否能破解运行iOS 9的iPhone 5C的人搭建起一个全球性的交流平台。那些细节也很重要，因为这是一部恐怖分子遗留下的手机。”