[ISN] The Barnaby Jack Few Knew: Celebrated Hacker Saw Spotlight as ‘Necessary Evil’

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-23/the-barnaby-jack-few-knew-celebrated-hacker-saw-spotlight-as-necessary-evil-.html By Jordan Robertson Bloomberg.com July 23, 2014 When celebrated computer hacker Barnaby Jack died suddenly a year ago at the age of 35, headlines around the world touted the Steve Jobs-style pizazz he brought to cyber-security conferences and his show-stopping stunts such as breaking into ATMs and pacemakers. In hacker circles, he was known as the life of the party. But recent interviews with Jack’s family and longtime friends portray a much different person, one who was uncomfortable with being in the spotlight at the annual Black Hat and DefCon conventions, events that will miss his showmanship when they begin next week in Las Vegas. Little is known about the circumstances around Jack’s final days. A five-month investigation by the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s Office found that Jack’s death on July 25, 2013 was the result of an overdose of cocaine, heroin, and allergy and anxiety medications. What is clear is that he had conflicted feelings about fame and the heightened expectations that come with breakout success. “White hats” like Jack play a critical role in uncovering security flaws early so they can be fixed before real damage occurs. Yet few possess the combination of attributes that made Jack a star: charisma, cleverness, strong technical skills and a marketing instinct that appeals to the mainstream. […]