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Breaking into iPhones for the FBI is a very lucrative business

The FBI paid hackers more than $1 million to unlock the iPhone 5c of one of the terrorists responsible for the mass shooting in San Bernardino.

The revelation comes in a roundabout way via FBI Director James Coney, who claimed the fee paid will exceed what he’ll earn in salary for the remainder of his time in the top job.

Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum (via Reuters), Coney was asked how much the FBI paid to bypass the passcode and access data on the iPhone that divided the nation.

“A lot,” he said. “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.”

Coney earns $183,000 a year, so when the maths is done, the total equates to more than $1.3 million.

Related: Apple vs FBI: Your questions answered

It’s still unclear who the FBI enlisted to unlock the phone, but it is believed to be a third-party firm operating out of Israel.

The disputed handset, which Apple had steadfastly refused to unlock, had Cupertino and the Feds destined for a long, precedent-setting court battle.

However, the FBI dropped its warrant against Apple after being approached with the viable method.

The Feds will be able to use it on other iPhone 5c models running iOS 9, but the method will not work on newer devices.


Related: iPhone 8

Meanwhile, the debate over end-to-end encryption rumbles on.