The death of famed “white hat” hacker Barnaby Jack, known as a genius in the information security world and the life of the party to friends, has been ruled a drug overdose by the San Francisco medical examiner’s office.
According to the report, Jack died as a result of a mix of heroin, cocaine, Benadryl, and Xanax.
The report, issued over five months after the 35-year-old’s death in July, will bring to an end the wild and often conspiratorial speculation over how a talented, seemingly healthy man in the prime of his life could have died days before he was meant to give an anticipated demonstration at the annual Black Hat convention in Las Vegas, the world’s largest hackers’ conference. In his presentation, “Implantable Medical Devices: Hacking Humans”, Jack was slated to show off the fruits of his latest research by hacking into pacemakers and implanted defibrillators—a feat he asserted could kill a man from 30 feet away.
But Jack would never have used his work to actually hurt anyone. “I suppose I’m on the good side of the fence,” he told a reporter in 2010.
The planned implantable device hack was just the latest from the excitable researcher, known for high-profile performances that captured the imaginations of hackers and laymen alike and brought attention to the issue of technology security—a field Jack saw as more important than ever. (“Has there ever been a box connected to the Internet that people haven’t tried to break into?” he recently asked.
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