The FBI and NSA are paying hackers on the ‘gray market’ millions to help them unlock phones


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In 2017, the FBI was locked out of an estimated 1,000 to 2,000 devices.
When it comes to cracking encrypted mobile devices, the FBI and NSA can seem as helpless as any regular citizen. 
Investigators are at the mercy of third-party hackers and companies who operate on the “gray market” — a marketplace offering zero-days and hacking services exclusively to government and corporate clients.
The FBI paid about $1.3 million to an undisclosed gray-market company for an exploit that cracked a locked iPhone used by gunman Syed Farook in the San Bernardino, California, shooting.

The FBI can shut down hundreds of online marketplaces on the dark web and identify web administrators on the internet anonymizing platform Tor. But when it comes to cracking encrypted mobile devices, it can seem as helpless as any regular citizen.

In a January 2018 speech at Fordham University, FBI Director Christopher Wray noted that in 2017 alone, agency investigators couldn’t access content on 7,775 devices: “That’s more than half of all the devices we attempted to access in that timeframe — and that’s just at the FBI.”See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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