Computer Hacker's Sudden Death Fuels Various Theories

bp9801 - August 6, 2013 08:13PM in General News

Computer hackers typically carry a negative connotation, but there are some who use their talents for good. One of them was Barnaby Jack, a 35-year-old originally from New Zealand, who used his hacking skills to help companies become more secure by letting them know about possible exploits. Whether it was demonstrating how easy an ATM machine could be manipulated to dump a ton of money or how an insulin pump could be tricked into delivering an extremely high dose, Jack's goal was to help make electronic devices more secure so other less scrupulous hackers couldn't take advantage of them. Jack's newest hack was to show how a pacemaker could be used to deliver a lethal shock, as seen on the TV show Homeland. However, just days before Jack was to present the hack at Black Hat in Las Vegas, he was found dead in his San Francisco home.

The cause of Jack's sudden death is a mystery, as his former colleagues at IOActive knew of no preexisting medical condition that would result in a death. San Francisco police said there was no evidence of foul play, yet the coroner's office isn't saying anything other than autopsy results won't be available for weeks or months. Jack's death is raising some questions as to just how exactly he died, with some speculations even including a government order to prevent details of pacemaker hacking from becoming public. Pacemakers are used by around five million people just in the US, and the potentially massive implications of them being hacked to kill their users may not have sat well with government officials. At least that's one of the theories being put forth, while another postulates that Jack is alive but hidden away to work on secret research projects.

Whatever the case may be, the death of Barnaby Jack right before a major hacking conference raises suspicions. Hopefully we'll know before long just how he died, but until then, there should be plenty of speculation.

Source: International Business Times