Famed Hacker Barnaby Jack Died Of Accidental Overdose

Barnaby Jack, the world-renowned hacker who was found dead in his San Francisco apartment in July died of an accidental overdose of cocaine, heroin and prescription drugs, according to a report released by the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s office.  The news was first reported by the website theverge.com.

Barnaby_Jack_Jackpotting
Jack was known for finding security holes in everyday objects. His ‘jackpotting’ demonstration caused ATM machines to spit out a cascade of money. (Photo courtesy of pauldotcom.com.)

Jack, a 36-year-old New Zealand resident was found unresponsive in bed, surrounded by bottles of pills, empty bottles of beer and champagne and evidence of “illicit drug use,” the Medical Examiner’s report states. Jack had traces of cocaine, heroin, Xanax, and Benadryl in his system at the time of death.

Jack was one of the most gifted security researchers of his generation. The head of embedded device security at the firm IOActive, Jack electrified audiences with his demonstrations of vulnerabilities in devices such as ATMs and implantable insulin pumps. In a now-famous “Jackpotting” demonstration, he demonstrated a remotely exploitable hole affecting bank automated teller machines (ATMs) by prompting them to spit out a stream of bills on stage.

He was found dead on July 25, just days before he was scheduled to speak at the Black Hat Briefings in Las Vegas. His death prompted suspicion within the every-wary hacking community that Jack had been a victim of an experiment gone wrong or – even worse – that he had been killed because of what he was planning to reveal.

The Medical Examiner’s report suggests otherwise – painting a picture of an  otherwise healthy 36 year old found alone and in bed with no signs of foul play or trauma. Jack and his girlfriend had dinner plans and statements attributable to her suggest that he was acting normally earlier in the day, but was known to drink and experiment with cocaine.

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