Cyber-security: Hats off

Barnaby Jack ensured what happened in Vegas stayed in Vegas

EVERY summer Las Vegas plays host to Black Hat, a security shindig where spooks, businesspeople and academics rub shoulders with some of the world’s most talented hackers. The event briefly overlaps with DEFCON, a more informal affair where hackers try to impress one another with their exploits. Both events offer a mix of partying and presentations with disconcerting titles such as “Stalking a City for Fun and Frivolity”, “Home Invasion 2.0” and “Dude, WTF in my car?”But one of hackerdom’s stars did not make it to this year’s jamborees. On July 25th Barnaby Jack was found dead in San Francisco, where he lived. He was only 35. An extremely popular “white hat”—a hacker who specialises in finding security flaws before nefarious “black hats” discover them—he had been due to give a presentation entitled “Implantable Medical Devices: Hacking Humans”.Mr Jack had said previously that he had found a flaw in medical devices, such as heart pacemakers and defibrillators, made by an unnamed manufacturer, which could allow an outsider to communicate with them wirelessly. He was planning to show how this could be…

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