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ATM hacker Barnaby Jack's death blamed on accidental drug overdose

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An accidental drug overdose caused the untimely death of elite hacker Barnaby Jack, an autopsy has concluded.

Jack, who was famed for demonstrating cash machine hacks live on stage in Las Vegas and later highlighted the insecurity of smart medical devices, was found dead at home in San Francisco last July days before he was due to give a talk on hacking electronic medical implants such as heart implants at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas.

The sudden death of the 35 year old New Zealander spurred numerous online tributes from his peers in the security research community.

An autopsy carried out after his death, released last week, concluded that Jack died of a multi-drug overdose including a mix of heroin and cocaine as well as prescription drugs – specifically, diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and alprazolam (Xanax). His girlfriend found him lying in bed and unresponsive, surrounded by beer and champagne bottles, when she returned home in the evening. Subsequent efforts to revive Jack proved unsuccessful and paramedics confirmed his death at the scene.

There was "no visible or palpable evidence of trauma" and the acute mixed drug overdose was likely to have been accidental, the autopsy concluded.

A copy of the autopsy report can be found here.

At the time of his death, Jack was the director of embedded device security at security firm IOActive.

More background on Jack's untimely death and reflections on his work can be found in a story on the autopsy finding by the BBC here and a blog post by freelance journalist Marcus Williamson here. ®

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