Famed hacker Barnaby Jack was found dead in San Francisco Thursday evening. Jack was well known beyond the hacker community after a number of well-publicized hacks. He captured imaginations making movie-type hacks quite real through a widely reported-on hack of a bank ATM, where he forced the machine to spew out all of its cash. Next he hacked a number of medical devices, including a famed hack attack on medical insulin pumps.
He was scheduled to appear at this year’s Black Hat convention out of Las Vegas where he was planning to demonstrate how he could attack heart implant devices remotely. It was to be his first appearance there in 3 years. Jack served as Director of Embedded Device Security at IOActive, Inc. He was found in his apartment and an autopsy is on the way to find his cause of death. The loss of this famed hacker has cast a pall over the upcoming Black Hat and DefCON conventions.
I reached out to Barnaby Jack through LinkedIn a few weeks ago for some commentary on some current cybersecurity events. While I received brief responses, we never quite got around to where I would publish them, so we were to get some time aside after Black Hat, so those things will stay private. Jack was a clear genius and the outpouring of loss and sorrow that has taken place on Twitter is not surprising. He inspired many with his innovative skill and thinking, the community lost a great one this week. He was a researcher extraordinaire in a field that needs his work to be carried on.