The tech industry is suffering a severe and devastating blow. Reports have surfaced famed hacker Barnaby Jack is dead. In a twist of speculative irony, Jack died a mere week before he was to host a convention on showing the world how he could hack into a pacemaker and kill someone doing so.
Jack was sought by many agencies on his expertise. He had the bad guy skills with a Superman cape. His goal was to exploit weaknesses in technology and assist companies in closing them off to attacks from outside or internal sources. ‘Reuters’ had reported that Jack, 35, was found by a “loved one” dead in his San Francisco apartment Thursday evening. A police spokesman has stated that police have ruled out foul play.
This leaves one to self-reflect if suicide could be the cause? The aspect would be considered very strange for someone in Jack’s position. Media outlets clamored to have time with the famed brain behind the infamous ATM hacks. He became a much admired speaker in regards to his skills and ability to match the weaknesses that could leave a corporation left in the web of bankruptcy.
One of Jack’s first employers, Stuart McClure of McAfee, stated of the gone but never forgotten hacker, “He was passionate about finding security bugs before the bad guys. He was one of those people who was put on this earth to find vulnerabilities that can be exploited in a malicious way to hurt people.”
The skills of the beautiful mind caught the eye of the United States Government. The Food and Drug Administration had contracted unnamed services from Jack, the agency deputy director William Maisel spoke highly about Jack, “The work that Barnaby Jack and others have done to highlight some of these vulnerabilities has contributed importantly to progress in the field” he said.
The 2013 Back Hat conference was scheduled for August 1, where Jack was scheduled to discuss a weakness with an anonymous company who manufacturers implanted wireless pacemakers and defibrillators. Jack was reportedly working with the company to avoid acquisition of patient information which could lead to ” lethal consequences,” Jack had stated in a previous interview.
Earlier this year another famed hacker, Aaron Swartz committed suicide. Many may know him by his developing hand into RSS and Reddit. Much like Jack, Swartz was found dead in his apartment in New York City. The young prodigy became a digital activist prior to his death, fighting against Internet censorship. The cause of death was labeled as suicide by hanging, in layman’s terms. His death later was rumored to be a murder by the government, due to his large following and activist path.
Already fans and theorists have taken to the web over the sudden passing of brilliant mind, Jack. One source, ‘Before It’s News’ pointed to the fact in 2006 the FDA took over approving wireless pacemakers, and during that time weaknesses in the software surfaced. Rumors suggest perhaps an individual or agency did not want the weaknesses discovered or corrected. Just as with Swartz, the speculation will continue even after the autopsy is released by the medical examiners.
Black Hat did release a statement today to the ‘The Guardian’:
We have lost a member of our family. Everyone would agree that the life and work of Barnaby Jack are legendary and irreplaceable. Barnaby had the ability to take complex technology and intricate research and make it tangible and accessible for everyone to learn and grow from. Beyond his work in our industry, Barnaby was an incredibly warm hearted and welcoming individual with a passion for celebrating life. We all have a hilarious and upbeat story about Barnaby. He is truly a shining example of what we love about this community.
Black Hat will not be replacing Barnaby’s talk on Thursday, Aug. 1. No one could possibly replace him, nor would we want them to. The community needs time to process this loss. The hour will be left vacant as a time to commemorate his life and work, and we welcome our attendees to come and share in what we hope to be a celebration of his life. Barnaby Jack meant so much to so many people, and we hope this forum will offer an opportunity for us all to recognize the legacy that he leaves behind.
Our deepest sympathies go out to Barnaby Jack’s family and loved ones. Words cannot adequately describe how much he will be missed, but it is certain that Barnaby will NEVER be forgotten.
Barnaby Jack, 35, was found dead today in his apartment. The man who brought banks a patch to stop ‘Jackpotting’ and a force who was ready to introduce another way to stop a hack, that if accessed could kill millions of people.