Black Hat and the InfoSec Community Lose Barnaby Jack

barnaby black hatFrom the ‘Life is Precious’ files:

I woke up this morning to check my email, in the hope that I got an overnight confirmation from celebrated hacker extraordinaire Barnaby Jack that we’d be talking soon about his upcoming Black Hat session.

Instead, my inbox/twitter stream was filled with comments/praises about his life – as Jack passed away last night.  

Life is sudden, it is busy and it is precious….

Barnaby Jack was well known in the security community. In 2009, he joined the ranks of the epic mythos of Black Hat talks that had to be pulled due to ‘concerns’ about his ATM hacking research.

Instead of walking away from the research, he walked away to a new employer that supported his 2010 return to Black Hat, where he presented the research.

Of the last 16 years of Black Hat talks, that one presentation remains in my memory at the top of the list. Standing in front of a crowded room, literally ‘jackpotting’ ATMs with his skills and of course his inimitable  humor.

Jack was supposed to be talking next week about hacking medical devices. Black Hat GM Trey Ford was among the many in the InfoSec community saddened by Jack’s passing today and he made it clear that Black Hat won’t be filling Jack’s speaking session with someone else.


Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and all those who knew and worked with him.

*UPDATE* The Black Hat Conference has just issued the following statement:

We have lost a member of our family. Everyone would agree that the life and work of Barnaby Jack are legendary and irreplaceable. Barnaby had the ability to take complex technology and intricate research and make it tangible and accessible for everyone to learn and grow from. Beyond his work in our industry, Barnaby was an incredibly warm hearted and welcoming individual with a passion for celebrating life. We all have a hilarious and upbeat story about Barnaby. He is truly a shining example of what we love about this community.

Black Hat will not be replacing Barnaby’s talk on Thursday, Aug. 1. No one could possibly replace him, nor would we want them to. The community needs time to process this loss. The hour will be left vacant as a time to commemorate his life and work, and we welcome our attendees to come and share in what we hope to be a celebration of his life. Barnaby Jack meant so much to so many people, and we hope this forum will offer an opportunity for us all to recognize the legacy that he leaves behind.

Our deepest sympathies go out to Barnaby Jack’s family and loved ones. Words cannot adequately describe how much he will be missed, but it is certain that Barnaby will NEVER be forgotten.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eSecurity Planet and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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