Earlier this month, the FBI announced it managed to crack open the iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters — by hiring contractor hackers. Now we know roughly how much that cost the U.S. taxpayers.
FBI Director James Comey suggested at an event in London on Thursday that the FBI paid more than $1.3 million to break into the iPhone. Instead of giving a precise number, Comey said it cost the agency "more than I will make in the remainder of this job, which is seven years and four months, for sure."
Reuters did the math: With Comey's annual salary as of January 2015 being $183,300, the total is roughly $1.34 million.
Comey made the comment during a question-and-answer session at an Aspen Security Forum event. He added that he thought the payment was, in his view, "worth it."
While the $1.3 million figure (and that's a minimum) sounds like a lot to pay for one hack, it's worth noting that various hacking challenges often offer prizes in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for successful demonstration of new vulnerabilities in software in hardware.
The Justice Department last month revealed that an entity outside the government had approached it with a method that could be used to open the phone used by Syed Farook, who along with his wife killed 14 people in the December attacks before dying in a police shootout.
The revelation came after a federal magistrate had directed Apple Inc. to help the FBI hack into the phone. The FBI had said that it wanted access to the phone as part of its investigation into the attacks.
Federal officials have said that the method from the third party was successful, though they haven't publicly revealed what it entailed.
Apple, on the other hand, last week offered an extensive look into how it plans to handle security challenges after the legal battle with the FBI.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.