Medical device hacking expert dies before releasing pacemaker exploit

July 26, 2013 by Arezu Sarvestani

High-profile cybersecurity researcher and medical device hacker Barnaby Jack dies just days before he's slated to present findings from his work hacking implantable pacemakers.

Medtech hacker dies ahead of cybersecurity conference

Photo from Twitter @barnaby_jack

Cybersecurity expert and avid medical device hacker Barnaby Jack died this week, just days before he was slated to present his latest research into hacking implantable cardiac devices.

Jack had made a name for himself in the hacking and security community with high-profile exploits, such as in his 2010 presentation that exposed a vulnerability that made ATM machines spew free cash. He'd also made himself known in medical device circles thanks to his work demonstrating long-range hacks into insulin pumps.

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Next week at the Las Vegas Black Hat conference, one of the biggest (and priciest) security conferences out there, Jack was slated to give a presentation titled "Implantable Medical Devices: Hacking Humans."

"Barnaby will discuss how these devices operate and communicate and the security shortcomings of the current protocols," according to a presentation summary by IOActive, where Jack was director of embedded security research. "IOActive's internal research software will be revealed that utilizes a common bedside transmitter to scan for, and interrogate individual medical implants."

Jack was also slated to offer some guidance for medical device makers on how to boost security in networked technologies.