It will cost Apple close to $101,000 in labor costs to help the FBI hack an iPhone. The company would rather spend millions to prevent the creation of a backdoor since it will render the phones vulnerable.
However, a federal magistrate-judge ordered the company to create a code that will help the FBI break into the iPhone 5C of a San Bernardino shooter. Apple is still fighting the order and they came up with a rough estimation of how much time and money it would cost if they came up with an operating system dubbed GovtOS.
“All told, I would estimate that the process of designing, creating, validating, deploying GovtOS would take two to four weeks,” Apple’s manager of user privacy, Erik Neuenschwander, declared in a court papers.
The effort would take “six to ten Apple engineers and employees dedicating a very substantial portion of their time,” Apple said in a court filing. That would include the best engineers from Apple’s core operating system group, one quality assurance engineer, a project manager, and a document writer, according to Apple’s filing.
According to a salary-tracking website Glassdoor:
• Senior software engineer at Apple: $147,049.
• Average project manager at Apple: $108,059.
• Average software quality assurance engineer at Apple: $102,857.
• Document writers at Apple weren’t listed on Glassdoor, but the average “technical writer” makes $71,950, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
If Apple decides to come up with a backdoor, they would need seven software engineers and three other employees. They’d also work four weeks, full-time. Apple CEO refers to it as a cancer.
“It has never been done before,” the company said in its court filing Thursday. “No operating system currently exists that can accomplish what the government wants, and any effort to create one will require that Apple write new code, not just disable existing code functionality.”
Now, to make matters worse, Apple would need highly secured infrastructure to create the code because nobody should gain access to it. In a court declaration, Apple lawyer Lisa Olle said that the company would most likely build one or two secure facilities similar to a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility.
The U.S government has however provided that it will reimburse Apple for every penny spent. But, the government’s bidding may leave everyone’s iPhone crippled and insecure.