Skip to main content

World-renowned hacker Barnaby Jack dies ahead of Black Hat 'hacking humans' talk in Las Vegas

A black cloud will be hanging over this year's Black Hat conference.

Famous hacker Barnaby Jack has died in San Francisco, just days before he was scheduled to give a much-anticipated talk at this year's Black Hat computer security conference in Las Vegas, according to a report from Reuters. The report cites the San Francisco Medical Examiner's office, which said the noted researcher died in the city on Thursday, but did not give any other details.

Jack was a fixture on the security research scene, and was credited with the discovery of numerous vulnerabilities and new exploitation methods. He gained widespread notoriety after a 2010 Black Hat presentation during which he forced ATMs to spit out cash in a hack dubbed "Jackpotting."

He was scheduled to speak at Black Hat this week in a session titled "Implantable Medical Devices: Hacking Humans," during which he was expected to discuss techniques for attacking implanted heart defibrillators, and ways to improve their security. In light of his death, Black Hat general manager Trey Ford confirmed that the room will be open during Jack's scheduled session for attendees to pay tribute to the late hacker.

The hacking community expressed shock and sadness on Twitter following news of Jack's death.

"RIP @barnaby_jack you were one HELLUVA hacker," tweeted McAfee researcher Dave Marcus.

Before his death, Jack served as director of embedded device security at computer and network security firm IOActive, which recently made headlines for a report about the vulnerability of the Emergency Alert System (EAS). He previously held research positions with McAfee, Juniper Networks, eEye digital Security, and FoundStone.

"Lost but never forgotten our beloved pirate, Barnaby Jack has passed," IOActive tweeted. "He was a master hacker and dear friend. Here's to you Barnes!"

Image credit: Flickr (dragon00knight)