How much did FBI’s iPhone hack cost taxpayers?

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Hacking the iPhone 5c probably cost the FBI more than $1 million.
Hacking the iPhone 5c probably cost the FBI more than $1 million.
Photo: Apple

The FBI may soon be forced to reveal how much money it spent to hack into the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone 5c last year.

FBI Director James Comey told the public that his agency paid “more than I will make in the remainder of this job” to unlock the device after Apple refused to help. Now a group of news organizations have asked a US judge to force the government to show exactly how much it cost taxpayers.

Hacker spills code developed to crack San Bernardino iPhone

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Code may have helped crack iPhone 5c.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

A hacker has released a cache of files allegedly stolen from Israeli mobile phone forensics company Cellebrite — including the hack it reportedly developed for the FBI to help break into older model iPhones.

In an interview with Motherboard, the hacker responsible said that the release was a demonstration that, “when you create these tools, they will make it out. History should make that clear.”

Cellebrite probably wasn’t the brains behind FBI’s iPhone hack

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iPhone hack
Israeli tech firm may not have been the ones who hacked San Bernardino iPhone.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The FBI signed a $15,000 contract with Israeli-tech firm Cellebrite to crack the iPhone 5c at the heart of the San Bernardino shooting investigation. However, according to a new report, Cellebrite may not have been the ones who successfully hacked the smartphone, after all.

Instead, the Feds reportedly broke into the iPhone 5c with the aid of a group of professional hackers who discovered and brought to the bureau a previously unknown iOS flaw — letting them get around the iPhone’s four-digit pincode feature, without accidentally erasing the iPhone’s data in the process.

Texting behind the wheel? N.Y. cops may have the tech to find out

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N.Y. cops may soon be able to instantly check if you were using your phone while driving.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Cellebrite, the Israeli tech firm which helped the FBI hack the iPhone 5c at the heart of the San Bernardino shooting case, is reportedly working on a “textalyzer” device that will allow authorities to find out whether a person as unlawfully driving while using their smartphone.

The device would initially be used in New York, where proposed legislation may let law enforcement officials access certain cellphone information — without a warrant — to find out whether drivers are distracted at the wheel.

iPhone 5c hackers think they’re close to cracking iPhone 6

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iPhone hack
The iPhone 6 is much tougher to hack than the iPhone 5c.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Israeli tech firm Cellebrite, a.k.a. the mobile forensics firm which helped the FBI hack the iPhone 5c at the center of the San Bernardino shooting case, is reportedly “optimistic” about hacking the more secure iPhone 6.

The story in this instance involves an Italian father, Leonardo Fabbretti, wanting to access the iPhone photos, notes and messages belonging to his adopted son Dama, who passed away from bone cancer last September at the age of 13.

Here’s How Police Departments Use Mac Tools For Computer Forensics

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Police computer forensics training in Middletown, Delaware.
Police forensics training for Macs in Middletown, Delaware.

If you’ve ever taken apart an Apple device, you know what delicate work it can be.

Imagine trying to extract incriminating child pornography photos from a laptop and you’ll understand why tools that help you see what’s on the device before opening it up are increasingly important in law enforcement.