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Prominent hacker dies



Published: Sat, July 27, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO

A prominent hacker who discovered a way to have ATMs spit out cash and was set to deliver a talk about hacking pacemakers and other wireless implantable medical devices has died in San Francisco, authorities and his employer said.

Barnaby Jack died at his home in San Francisco Thursday, although the cause of death is still under investigation, San Francisco Deputy Coroner Kris Barbrich said.

Jack, who was in his mid-30s, was scheduled to speak Thursday at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas. The headline of his talk was “Implantable Medical Devices: Hacking Humans,” according to a synopsis on the Black Hat conference website.

Jack planned to reveal software that uses a common transmitter to scan for and “interrogate” individual medical implants, the website said.

The topic is reminiscent of the second season of the TV drama “Homeland,” when terrorists kill the vice president by hacking into his heart device. Jack planned to discuss ways manufacturers could improve the security of the devices.

Jennifer Steffens, the CEO of computer security firm IOActive, Inc., where Jack worked, called Jack one of the most accomplished security researchers. He dedicated his career to exploiting weaknesses in onboard computers in cars, automated teller machines and other so-called “embedded devices” so that they can be better protected.


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