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Barnaby Jack, respected hacker of ATMs and medical devices, found dead in San Francisco

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Barnaby Jack (Credit: IOActive/Facebook)
Barnaby Jack (Credit: IOActive/Facebook)

Barnaby Jack, a programmer and hacker who gained worldwide recognition and respect for numerous technical feats including hacking medical implants and hijacking an ATM (cash machine) and forcing it to spit out money, was found dead on Thursday evening in an apartment in San Francisco, as Reuters reported. According to Reuters, a police spokesperson said that "foul play" was not suspected in Jack's death. But the report states that an autopsy is being performed, and that the results are anticipated within a month. Jack was reportedly 35.

Jack had been due to speak at the 2013 Black Hat cyber security conference in Las Vegas next Thursday, August 1st. He was allegedly going to present a method of wirelessly hacking a pacemaker, potentially using it to deliver a high voltage shock and kill a patient with one implanted. He previously described the plausibility of hacking and weaponizing pacemakers in February, and demonstrating the ability to wirelessly hack insulin pumps as well. In 2010, Jack performed a demonstration at Black Hat of his clever, inconspicuous method of using a pre-programmed card to bypass the security software on a common ATM model made by the company Tranax, causing it to dump cash on stage. The technique, known as "Jackspotting," made news headlines around the world.

He worked with numerous leading internet and information security companies, including McAfee, Juniper, eEye Digital, and most recently, IOActive, where he was employed as director of embedded device security. As IOActive tweeted from its official Twitter account on Friday: "Lost but never forgotten our beloved pirate, Barnaby Jack has passed. He was a master hacker and dear friend. Here's to you Barnes!"

Black Hat provided the following statement to The Verge, which is due to be posted on its website shortly:

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.