Security researchers and other hackers love to show off their latest hacks and tricks at conferences, yet many of the presentations end up being underwhelming, with only a calculator appearing on a screen to demonstrate success.
Not so with New Zealand-born hacker Barnaby Jack. He made ATM's spit out cash on stage, made insulin pumps over-deliver to induce diabetic shock, and rigged up pacemakers to kill wearers with lethal jolts of electricity.
Jack died last night (July 25) in San Francisco, Reuters reported, citing the city's medical examiner's office. No cause of death was given. Via Twitter, Jack's sister Amberleigh Jack confirmed his death.
Jack was to demonstrate remote-controlled hacks of pacemakers and implantable defibrillators at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas next week.
He was a hero to the thousands of researchers and hackers due to descend upon Sin City for the annual Black Hat/DEF CON week of presentations and parties.
"God, the stories. Nobody caused such hilarious trouble like @barnaby_jack. You kids with your lulz are about to learn about a PRO, " tweeted well-known security researcher Dan Kaminsky. " I was actually holding out hope that, of anyone I knew, he was just enough of a [jerk] to fake his own death. Damnit, @barnaby_jack."
"RIP @barnaby_jack. Still hoping this is a stunt as epic as his 2010 ATM hack and that Reuters is about to print a correction," tweeted Forbes information-security reporter Andy Greenberg.
At the time of his death, Jack was director of embedded-device security for Seattle information-security firm IOActive. He had previously worked for McAfee, Juniper Networks and eEye Digital Security.
According to his sister, Jack was 35.