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Elite Hacker Barnaby Jack Dies At 36

Barnaby Jack demonstrates an attack on two automated teller machines during the Black Hat technology conference in Las Vegas on July 28, 2010.
Barnaby Jack demonstrates an attack on two automated teller machines during the Black Hat technology conference in Las Vegas on July 28, 2010.

Barnaby Jack, one of the world's most prominent hackers, died on Friday, the San Francisco Medical Examiner tells NPR's Steve Henn.

As Steve tells our Newscast unit, Jack became a hacker hero when he exploited a security vulnerability in an ATM machine and made it spit out cash.

The move became known as "Jackpotting." Via YouTube, here is the moment from the Black Hat USA 2010 conference (the real action starts at 3:05 and 5:57):

Jack was 36.

As Bloomberg reports, Jack did not stop at ATMs. Last year, he found a security flaw in an insulin pump that allowed him to send a command from 300 feet away that would deliver a deathly dose.

Next week, Jack planned to show off his latest hack at the Blackhat conference: He was going to show how he could hack into a pacemaker or defibrillator and short it out, presumably killing a person.

Jack told Vice Magazine that he was intrigued by the devices when he found out they were capable of communicating wirelessly.

"I decided to look at pacemakers and ICDs (implantable cardioverter defibrillators) to see if they communicated securely and if it would be possible for an attacker to remotely control these devices," he said. After about six months, he found a vulnerability and was able to control the device.

Steve Henn reminds us that Jack was one of the good guys. He found the vulnerabilities and told manufacturers about them. Jack worked at the security firm IOActive.

"Lost but never forgotten our beloved pirate, Barnaby Jack has passed," IO said on Twitter. "He was a master hacker and dear friend. Here's to you Barnes!"

His cause of death is still unknown.

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