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 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.”

Donald Trump forced to give up his beloved Android

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Donald Trump Liberty University
Trump won't be tweeting from a Samsung for a while.
Photo: Washington Post (via YouTube)

Donald Trump has been forced to give up his beloved Android smartphone as he steps into the White House.

He has now been issued a “secure, encrypted device approved by the Secret Service,” alongside a new phone number that only a few people will posses.

Three security firms offered to hack iPhone for FBI

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iPhone hack
100 pages of documents about the case were recently released.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Aside from the massive privacy questions it raised, one of the biggest questions coming out of the FBI’s 2016 standoff with Apple was how exactly it managed to hack the iPhone used in the San Bernardino shooting.

While we still don’t know for sure, 100 pages of documents released recently by the FBI as part of a lawsuit by three organizations sheds a bit of light on what happened.

From tiny innovations to big brawls, this is how Apple rolled in 2016

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Thank Jobs, 2016 is finally over!
Thank Jobs, 2016 is finally over!
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

2016 Year in Review Cult of Mac 2016 sent Apple for a wild ride full of fantastic new products, crazy controversies and tons of extra drama with its rivals.

Tim Cook and his colleagues probably can’t wait to jump into 2017. But before we start looking toward Apple’s future, let’s take a quick look back at all the stories that made 2016 a year Apple fans will never forget.

New York district attorney calls for federal law to unlock seized iPhones

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iPhone 7 back
Law enforcement officials still want Apple to hack the iPhone.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance wants the Trump administration to help create federal legislation requiring Apple and Google to remove default encryption from their smartphones.

The recommendation comes from the DA office’s second report on Smartphone Encryption and Public Safety, presented by Vance at the opening of the Manhattan DA’s new cyberlab. New York County is currently sitting on 423 iPhones it can’t break into, even with a warrant, so the DA’s office is pushing for change.

The FBI needs help unlocking another terrorist’s iPhone

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iPhone 7 Home button
iPhone's security has the FBI stumped.
Photo: Ste Smith

The FBI and Apple could be on a collision course for another legal showdown over a dead terrorist’s locked iPhone.

Apple refused to comply with the FBI’s demands to unlock the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone eight months ago. That led to a very public legal battle over privacy and security. Now the FBI needs help again after obtaining the iPhone of a terrorist that stabbed 10 people in a Minnesota mall.

Apple winning as lawmakers give up on forced backdoors

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iPhone SE
The FBI won't get its backdoor anytime soon.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

U.S. lawmakers are said to be giving up on their push for new encryption laws that would require companies like Apple to create software backdoors that allow the government to access our devices.

It’s thought the lack of White House support and Apple’s high-profile battle with the Justice Department, which was unable to force the company into providing an iPhone unlock, are some of the reasons why supporters are losing hope.

Apple rehires cryptography expert to tighten security 

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Apple is ready to tighten security.
Photo: Milo Kahney/Cult of Mac

Renowned practical cryptography expert Jon Callas is returning to Apple to help the iPhone-maker stay ahead of hackers and the FBI in its on going battle with security. 

Callas co-founded well known secure communications companies such as Silent Circle, Blackphone, and PGP Corp. This will be his third stint at Apple where he is expected to ramp up security features across Apple’s wide ranging product line up.

FBI promises more litigation in its anti-encryption vendetta

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iPhone hack
The FBI isn't backing down in its war on end-to-end encryption.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Fighting Apple may, according to some, have been the FBI’s worst PR disaster in history, but even its failure to convince Congress of its goals isn’t stopping its war on encryption — with FBI director James Comey telling reporters this week that more litigation can be expected as the feds seek to hack devices.