FBI does not know how the $1m iPhone hack works

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FBI does not know how the $1m iPhone hack works

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The  FBI does not know how the hack which was used to unlock the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone 5C works, even though the agency paid about $1 million for the technique. The identity of the hackers who sold the technique to the agency is a closely guarded secret, and the FBI director himself does not know who they are.

U.S. government sources told Reuters that the FBI does not know how the hack which was used to unlock the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone 5C works, even though the agency paid about $1 million for the technique. The mechanism can be employed to unlock any other iPhone 5C running iOS 9.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the hack was bought from professional hackers, and that the amount the agency paid for it was less than earlier reports which talked of more than $1.3 million.

The sources told the news agency that the FBI can use the technique any time it wants without further payments.

FBI director James Comey said last week that the agency paid more to get into the iPhone 5C than he will make in the remaining seven years and four months he has in his job. Based on the director’s salary, journalists calculated that this means the hack cost more than $1.3 million.

After the FBI, in March, unlocked the iPhone, the agency withdrew its request that a court  force Apple to create software to unlock the iPhone 5C.

The Journal says that the FBI bought a physical mechanism used to unlock the phone, but does not know the details of the hack which makes it work. The identity of the hackers who sold the technique to the agency is a closely guarded secret, and the FBI director himself does not know who they are.

The FBI said it would not tell Apple about the security flaw which the hacking technique exploits, not only because the FBI wants to be able to hack future phones, but also because the agency does not know how the hack works.

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