Hacker Barnaby Jack dies just before Black Hat presentation on lethal pacemaker hacks

Reuters reports that hacker Barnaby Jack, who was headed to the Black Hat hacker convention to present techniques for attacking implanted heart devices that could kill their user from 30 feet away, has died unexpectedly. He was 35.

Authorities in San Francisco are investigating.

He discussed the pacemaker hack, featured in fiction on the TV show "Homeland," in a blog post earlier this year.

In 2012, Cory wrote on Boing Boing about his claims of being able to write lethal pacemaker viruses.

Previously, the security researcher had demonstrated at Black Hat how to hack ATMs to spit out money.

Bloomberg has more on his life and death.

The synopsis for his scheduled August 1 talk at Black Hat 2013:


In 2006 approximately 350,000 pacemakers and 173,000 ICD's (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators) were implanted in the US alone. 2006 was an important year, as that's when the FDA began approving fully wireless based devices. Today there are well over 3 million pacemakers and over 1.7 million ICD's in use.

This talk will focus on the security of wireless implantable medical devices. I will discuss how these devices operate and communicate and the security shortcomings of the current protocols. Our internal research software will be revealed that utilizes a common bedside transmitter to scan for, and interrogate individual medical implants.

I will also discuss ideas manufacturers can implement to improve the security of these devices.