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Famed ATM Hacker Barnaby Jack Dies Days Before Black Hat Conference 110

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the too-young dept.
wiredmikey writes "A shocking and sad day today in the security industry. Well known hacker Barnaby Jack has passed away, sending a shock through the security community. Jack, a famed white hat hacker, was scheduled to present at the Black Hat conference on Tuesday, and present research on vulnerabilities in implantable medical devices. Shocked reactions hit the Twittersphere on Friday, as many in the industry conveyed their condolences, shock, and even disbelief, hoping new of the death was some sort of hoax. 'I just wake up and heard this, really sad, I can't believe this, no words,' Cesar Cerrudo, CTO, IOActive Labs, said in an email to SecurityWeek. Barnaby Jack is probably best known for his ATM hacking demonstrations, which he liked to refer as 'Jackpotting,' and performed at a few conferences, including a demonstration at Black Hat 2010 that got media attention around the world. The San Francisco Medical Examiner's office told Reuters that Jack had died in San Francisco on Thursday, but did not provide additional details."
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Famed ATM Hacker Barnaby Jack Dies Days Before Black Hat Conference

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  • Myes, myes... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Friday July 26, 2013 @12:15PM (#44391749)

    . The San Francisco Medical Examiner's office told to Reuters that Jack had died in San Francisco on Thursday, but did not provide additional details."

    Well, that is the official version of events, yes. -- NSA

    • by mjwalshe (1680392)
      or Russian mafia
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ilsaloving (1534307)

      Why is the parent marked troll? A young guy dies days before he was going to give a lecture during a security conference, and they won't say how he died?

      How does that *not* sound suspicious?

      • Re:Myes, myes... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Dputiger (561114) on Friday July 26, 2013 @12:57PM (#44392191)

        It doesn't sound suspicious at all if you think about it. It takes an autopsy to determine cause of death, and that takes a few days at least.

        • Re:Myes, myes... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ebno-10db (1459097) on Friday July 26, 2013 @01:22PM (#44392457)

          It doesn't sound suspicious at all

          I disagree. The guy was 34-35. Presumably he didn't get hit by a truck or shot in the head, as you don't need an ME to figure out the basic cause. Do people that age just drop dead? Sure, sometimes, especially if they have known serious health problems. Even if they don't, it can happen (e.g. major aneurysm due to congenital weakness in an artery). It doesn't happen very often though.

          I'm no conspiracy theorist and I wouldn't go around screaming ah ha! A little suspicion though, when it happens a few days before a hacker conference, and considering other things that have been happening lately, is another story.

          • Re:Myes, myes... (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Dunbal (464142) * on Friday July 26, 2013 @01:29PM (#44392551)

            Do people that age just drop dead?

            Yes they do. Not often, but it happens. I had "sudden cardiac death". I'm alive because it happened in an emergency room in front of a doctor. They called code, and brought me back. I was 30. I'm still here at 45, 5 bypasses, a defibrillator implant and 8 stents later. The odds increase if you consider this researcher was probably a nerd like most of us, meaning he was probably sedentary most of the time, and probably didn't exactly eat the best stuff for his health.

            • Re:Myes, myes... (Score:4, Interesting)

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 26, 2013 @03:32PM (#44393835)
              The question is whether or not the probability of dieing is significantly higher when you are about to appear at a hacker converence to discuss the hacking of implanted medical devices.
              • Re:Myes, myes... (Score:4, Informative)

                by Dunbal (464142) * on Friday July 26, 2013 @04:50PM (#44394715)
                It could be. Stress. Stress releases cortisol and increases vascular tone through a higher baseline of catecholamines (epinephrine, norepinephrine) which leads to higher blood pressure. This puts more work on the heart since it has to increase its output to compensate for the increased resistance to blood flow. Stress can very well be a factor that causes a catastrophic event like this to happen. Usually when someone dies suddenly, it's a circulatory problem - stroke, heart attack, aneurysm, thrombosis. All of these have increased probabilities of happening when someone is under stress. Yeah, I'm a doctor, too - which is why I got so lucky and was standing in the middle of an ER when it happened to me :)
              • by sabri (584428)

                The question is whether or not the probability of dieing is significantly higher when you are about to appear at a hacker converence to discuss the hacking of implanted medical devices.

                Maybe he accidentally caused a kernel panic on his own pacemaker while he was preparing his slides??

          • by Talderas (1212466)

            In the deaths of most young people an autopsy is performed precisely for the reasons you state. Unless the cause of death is readily apparent, most younger people are healthy enough that they do not just fall over dead. The results of the autopsy won't and can't be known for a couple days but there are plenty of non-spectacular causes of death the least of which is drugs or alcohol.

            • by Dputiger (561114)

              My point is not "There's no way this death COULD have been suspicious."

              My point is "The reason a cause of death hasn't been released yet is because an autopsy and subsequent biochemical analysis takes time." There are blood tests to run, arteries to check, stomach contents to evaluate, etc, etc, etc. A lot of that is done by the doctor performing the autopsy, but confirmation takes a little while.

              So while I acknowledge that the *death* may or may not turn out to be suspicious, the fact that we don't know th

              • What are we supposed to do with all this tin foil until then?

                • Fun fact: "tinfoil hats" are, in fact a government conspiracy. Tin does absolutely nothing to deflect the alien mind-control waves the FBI has been using. The widespread usage of the term "tinfoil hat" has been leading people into using ineffective methods. Your hats need to made out of aluminum .
              • by Talderas (1212466)

                I agree with you, which is why I wasn't responding to you.

                Jumping to conclusions without evidence at this point is frankly, indicative of a behavior I would expect from the pleb and not from the type of people that I would normally assume browse this site.

          • by operagost (62405)

            Do people that age just drop dead?

            Suicide does the trick.

          • It doesn't sound suspicious at all

            I disagree. The guy was 34-35. Presumably he didn't get hit by a truck or shot in the head, as you don't need an ME to figure out the basic cause. Do people that age just drop dead? Sure, sometimes, especially if they have known serious drug problems.

            FTFY...not saying this guy did, but probably most high profile deaths with people his age are due to drug ODs

        • It doesn't sound suspicious at all if you think about it. It takes an autopsy to determine cause of death, and that takes a few days at least.

          Lies. I watch NCIS and know an autopsy only takes the time to ride an elevator to the basement. Of course, the body is usually either clothed, or a bright light is shining upon his nether-regions, which are suspiciously eunich-like... so maybe it only works on aliens mascarading as marines.

          • by jeremyp (130771)

            But they have exceptional people at NCIS. I've watched Timothy McGee crack a 256 bit symmetrical cipher in an afternoon using just his desktop PC which is especially astonishing given that the way he delivered the line "256 bit symmetrical cipher" strongly implied that he had no clue what a 256 bit symmetrical cipher is.

            • by rednip (186217)
              Really? A TV show using made up science, next you'll claim that Scottie of Star Trek didn't really have any engineering skills and was simply some actor spouting out nonsense.
      • This is another case of "people are stupid, inobservant lumps who don't understand probability".

        This is one data point, nothing to make any assumptions on. If you had perfect knowledge of all the people involved in that hacker conference, and what happened to them in the months leading up to the conference, you'd see all sorts of strange occurrences in their lives that ALSO don't imply nefarious government action.

        Remember, this is the country where airline travel decreased by 30% after 9/11. Sure, there
      • by slick7 (1703596)

        How does that *not* sound suspicious?

        NDAA, Obamanation's executive order kill list, Department of Human Sacrifice 2 bbbbbbillion rounds of hollowpoint ammo on taxpayer funds, fast and furious, suspicious? NAH.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Clearly it was suicide, he couldn't handle the fame so he shot himself with 3 different firearms.

    • Huge loss to the security community his information were always informative great mind and presenter.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Sometimes people just die.
    Sometimes people get killed.
    Sometimes people get killed by agencies funded by (yet unaccountable to) the United States Federal Government.

    Not saying that's what happened. Just saying...

  • A 50% chance of passing away prior to the start of the gathering and a 50% chance of passing away after the start of the gathering.
    • by amiga3D (567632) on Friday July 26, 2013 @12:52PM (#44392163)

      Stop killing the fun. Paranoia is my favorite hobby.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      A 50% chance of passing away prior to the start of the gathering and a 50% chance of passing away after the start of the gathering.

      No. That math only works if you pick a time frame for the 'before' and 'after'. Otherwise, you've got years after, and much higher odds.

      And if you pick a time frame, the 'nothing to see here' part no longer applies.

    • by Ly4 (2353328)

      A 50% chance of passing away prior to the start of the gathering and a 50% chance of passing away after the start of the gathering.

      I don't think you have much of a future as an insurance actuary.

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      A 50% chance of passing away prior to the start of the gathering and a 50% chance of passing away after the start of the gathering.

      That's not how statistics work.
      The guy was 35 years old and his chances of passing away before the start of Black Hat should have been significantly less than 50%, barring any pre-existing medical conditions or risky behaviors.

    • Yep, that's the same reason I bought a lottery ticket today. Either I'll win, or I won't. My odds are 50/50.
      • Kudos to you! An elegant repost that completely punctures my post and all without resorting to Schrödinger's cat to explain the apparent statistical paradox.
        • "...repost..." I think you meant "riposte". Otherwise, well formed sarcasm. Empty, but well formed. Nice use of the umlaut. :-)
  • by Anonymous Coward

    We are all honey pots for entropy

  • Shitty (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Orgasmatron (8103) on Friday July 26, 2013 @12:39PM (#44392013)

    That sucks.

    He was an interesting character. He helped me sneak a girl into a hacker party at the Peppermill one year during Defcon. No one that drank with him, even once, will ever forget him.

    God had better keep an eye on him. If the pearly gates have any exploits, he'll find them.

    • by arth1 (260657)

      Sounds like an interesting person. However, I'm not sure I'd call him "famed" as TFA does, as he doesn't even have a Wikipedia page.

      (Which I'm sure will appear before long - once you're dead, everybody and their dog have always been your fans.)

      • by jittles (1613415)

        Sounds like an interesting person. However, I'm not sure I'd call him "famed" as TFA does, as he doesn't even have a Wikipedia page.

        (Which I'm sure will appear before long - once you're dead, everybody and their dog have always been your fans.)

        So that's what I got to do to get my dog to like me? Everyone said to try peanut butter....

        I kid I kid. ;)

    • "Jack had exposed a security flaw in insulin pumps that could be made to dispense a fatal dose by a hacker 300ft away, pushing some medical companies to review the security of these devices." http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/jul/26/hacker-barnaby-jack-san-francisco-dies [guardian.co.uk] many don't contribute that much in their whole lifetime but he did that and more.
  • by Nethemas the Great (909900) on Friday July 26, 2013 @01:48PM (#44392807)
    I wonder how much his research would have cost device makers monetarily... Does anyone know if the research he was going to present is or will still be made publicly available?
  • But when I hear a man over 40 die suddenly its usually a heart attack, accident or suicide.
  • That's just the thing here. Banking controls the world right now. We think it is government, but it's pretty much banking and money. As the global financial crisis comes closer to "the end of things" it's getting more and more serious. Now that the people hacking, cracking and exploiting vulnerabilities in money systems and services are becoming heroes to the people, the government can no longer be trusted to handle these people through official means.

    We're going to see a lot more assassinations and my

  • Does anyone know if (by any chance) he had a pacemaker?

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