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

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 …

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  1. Suricou Raven

    Commence conspiracy theories.

    So, who killed him?

    I'm going for the Secret Service. The NSA might be the bogeyman of choice, but lack motive. The SS is charged with protecting important officials, some of whom have or may in future need pacemakers.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Commence conspiracy theories.

      I'm sure they need Peacemakers today.

    2. Psyx

      Re: Commence conspiracy theories.

      More worrying is that the SS is alive and well in America...

      1. GoGlen

        Re: Commence conspiracy theories.

        Not sure if joking, psyx - the Secret Service is a branch of the US Treasury department that is tasked with protecting the President and all US (and foreign visiting) officials. And with finding prostitutes in Columbia.

        1. Irony Deficient

          US Secret Service

          GoGlen, the US Secret Service was part of Treasury for most of its existence, but was shunted over to Homeland Security in 2003.

      2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: Commence conspiracy theories.

        > the SS is alive and well in America...

        Tell us something new. There are also a few people who are potentially donor/carries of HITLER'S BRAIN.

        Did anyone see Cheney lates, btw? I'm not sure what he's up to.

        1. oolor

          Re: Commence conspiracy theories.

          I hereby claim my prize for prognosticating cause:

          http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2013/07/26/barnaby_jack_dies/#c_1905079

          On the matter of conspiracy, as I wrote previously ^^^:

          "Of course black helicopters would no longer be much of a surprise either, but he is dead, so that kinda mostly rules it out."

          1. NomNomNom

            Re: Commence conspiracy theories.

            black helicopters idea was cointelpro don't believe it

      3. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Commence conspiracy theories.

        "More worrying is that the SS is alive and well in America..."

        Yes, but THEY have a different abbreviation now.

        "Vee haf vays to make you talk! Vee know your every move!"

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Accidental?

      Ho hum.

      1. The First Dave

        Re: Accidental?

        Never mind that, why did they feel it was necessary to state that the autopsy was "carried out after his death" ??

        1. jgarbo
          Devil

          Re: Accidental?

          Because an autopsy carried out _before_ death would look mighty suspicious...

        2. tom dial Silver badge

          Re: Accidental?

          Maybe because civil servants are, on average, no better than the mean when it comes to language use, but are experts in stating the obvious, use of the passive verb form, using long words when there are short ones that would be as good or better, and so on. After a number of years in the US CIvil Service, I concluded that there is little hope for improvement.

    4. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Commence conspiracy theories.

      The Secret Service is also in charge of currency crimes, most notably, counterfeiting.

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Commence conspiracy theories.

        The Secret Service is also in charge of currency crimes, most notably, counterfeiting.

        Surely the Secret Service should let the crooks be in charge of the crimes, then they come in and find the crooks?

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Commence conspiracy theories.

      It looks very much like he killed himself. To paraphrase: Never suspect conspiracy when tragedy is a more likely cause.

  2. Slap

    Cool

    Cool, if ever I need to off somebody I now know exactly how to do it without getting caught. Basically tap the local hoodies for a few wraps of this and that, get the guy plastered with spiked drinks, and then empty my recycling bin on his bed.

    Who'd have thought it'd be so simple, and that the powers that be would give away their clandestine assassination secrets so easily

    *tongue is firmly in cheek*

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Gimp

      Re: Cool

      That seems like a whole lot of trouble! Take a tip from the experts: strip him, lock him inside a sports bag, pop it in the bath (less cleanup for the girlfriend - every little helps!), and you're home in time for the accidental death verdict.

      1. NomNomNom

        Re: Cool

        "That seems like a whole lot of trouble! Take a tip from the experts: strip him, lock him inside a sports bag, pop it in the bath (less cleanup for the girlfriend - every little helps!), and you're home in time for the accidental death verdict."

        Isn't it more likely he was practicing for something...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cool

      > Cool, if ever I need to off somebody I now know exactly how to do it without getting caught.

      I see you don't own a pig farm.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: Cool

        > I see you don't own a pig farm.

        jake, is that you?

        1. oolor

          Re: Cool

          Jake's pigs are artisanal breeds, they eat better than 99% of El Reg readers.

  3. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Cue the "Reiser Is Innocent" crowd's outrage.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Bah!

      Reiser is still alive but his girlfriend not so much, thanks to Reiser.

      You statement is of bad taste.

      1. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: Bah!

        And yet they are here in force, as predicted.

        Bad taste is claiming that stripping a brand new car of its furniture and fittings and hosing it out is normal behavior and people suggesting anything but a purely innocent reason for it are fascist pigs.

  4. ItsNotMe
    FAIL

    What a crock.

    "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."

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

    Right. He "accidently" took all of those drugs...one at a time. Then washed them down with beer & champagne.

    Buh-bye kid...you're a loser who won't be missed.

    1. Otto is a bear.

      Re: What a crock.

      There's nothing said about his state of mind. I'd have thought a man of his intelligence would have known the consequences of consuming this kind of cocktail.

      But then I know some brilliant people who just don't know when to stop, and have no sense of self preservation.

      A brilliant hacker, but as we all are a flawed human being, and I suspect his family and friends will miss him.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What a crock.

        He had the reputation of being a wild party animal, as well as very smart (not an uncommon combination). I saw him present on the subject of the medical device hacking, some months before his death, and at the time he struck me as being entertaining, but hungover.

        It's sad, especailly for the GF who found him, but maybe whatever part of his brain was wired to see the security flaws so clearly was also miswired when it came to judging his own limits?

  5. steve 124

    Holy crap moly! This didn't get anyone in the media even slightly interested? How many Directors of Security are likely to be doing Heroine, Coke and Xanax on a business trip to Vegas? This guy sounded like he was very very intelligent (and that sounds like something very stupid to do). I thought when it was announced back in the Summer that this sounded like an alphabet hit and the details really scream that some group didn't really want the general populous to know about this particular "flaw" (might get us asking too many questions the next time someone important drops dead of an apparent heart attack).

    Next time just tell defcon that you're going to be speaking about a new droid bug you found and then spring the real subject when you're on stage, and don't drink anything you didn't make yourself.

    1. tuzza

      According to the autopsy report he had a history of using opiates. Not sure what his girlfriend says about that though. I don't find it unbelievable that a talented person was also drug user.

      It's also been in the BBC and the Guardian, as well as web based outlets, is that not enough media for you?

    2. oolor

      How many Directors

      >How many Directors of Security are likely to be doing Heroine, Coke and Xanax on a business trip to Vegas?

      More than not. Chances are you are unaware of the recreational drug use amongst your colleagues. The one you think is the least likely user is the most likely to enjoy tripping balls for a few hours every weekend or other on "E", but really they are doing meth in pill (60-80mg is what most street E contains).

      As for the OD, pharmaceutical opiates combined with alcohol are responsible for more deaths than all other drug overdoses combined. Often the intelligent person is the one to flout the recommendations since they 'know' better, sadly, much like heroin, odd things happen with opiates even with the same dose when other factors are present.

      1. NomNomNom

        Re: How many Directors

        I once saw a man high on E smashing a shop window with his bear hands. Turned out the drug had made him go all pedo and he thought his own reflection was a child.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: How many Directors

          I once saw a man bite his own head off! In broad daylight too, leaving no trace of physical violence.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: How many Directors

            I once saw angels come down from the sky, preaching peace and love, then fight godzilla in a glorious and beautiful clash, scored by Pink Floyd. Second year chem, making LSD.

            1. EJ

              Re: How many Directors

              "I once saw angels come down from the sky, preaching peace and love, then fight godzilla in a glorious and beautiful clash, scored by Pink Floyd. Second year chem, making LSD."

              I'm pretty sure that same show got a replay at the Nelson Mandela memorial service by some guy flapping his hands at the front.

        2. Thecowking

          Re: How many Directors

          Are these bear hands the ones at the end of the bear arms that Americans have a right to?

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: How many Directors

          Drugs turned him into a bear?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: How many Directors

            "Drugs turned him into a bear?"

            Yep, ursanthropy is another terrible side effect of drugs, all drugs. Just say NO to REEFER MADNESS!

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            >Drugs turned him into a bear?

            yes, a pedobear.

            Please follow the story.

        4. This post has been deleted by its author

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: How many Directors

          Shurely you mean you "once saw a man smashing a shop window with his bare hands. Bystanders made various daft, ill-informed remarks alluding to his (unknowable) mental state ... Having no personal experience of chemically induced altered states of mind and even less skill with critical thinking, [you] decided to reproduce such inane tittle-tattle as if it were true ..."

          There, FTFY ....

    3. veskebjorn

      "Father of Modern Surgery," William Stewart Halstead, was addicted to cocaine and morphine

      The doctor who pioneered the use of sterile gloves, sterile conditions in surgeries, hernia repairs, radical mastectomies, invented "residencies" to train fledgling surgeons, local anesthesia, and much more, was addicted to both cocaine and heroin. Experimenting on himself and others with cocaine (the local anesthetic) led to addiction--the cure for which in the the late 1800s was morphine. Almost all of Halstead's pioneering work was done either under the influence of the two drugs or while suffering withdrawal. Sigmund Freud, at about the same time, also became a cocaine addict for several years and promoted its use as a wonder drug for almost all ills. The point is very bright and productive people can have drug problems. Addiction does not equal stupidity; addiction is a disease.

      1. EJ

        Re: "Father of Modern Surgery," William Stewart Halstead, was addicted to cocaine and morphine

        The missing conclusion here is that Dr. Halstead wasn't acutely aware of the impact and potential effects, whereas this supposedly intelligent gentleman Jack had the benefit of societal knowledge of the likely outcomes... and chose to ignore them.

  6. tfewster Silver badge
    FAIL

    A bit slow, El Reg

    As reported by the BBC on 3rd Jan: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-25598791

    Oh, and you might be interested in another BBC story about a company that lost a bunch of credit card CVV numbers (that they shouldn't have been storing anyway) - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25591548

  7. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    "Victor the Cleaner has left the building"

    So what does the girlfriend say?

    I am pretty sure she has a word to put in about the likelihood of that guy doing a Krokodil Homemix while in Vegas.

  8. westlake

    Occam's Razor

    I can't imagine any competent pathologist missing the signs of long-term drug and alcohol abuse --- and the drug cocktail is a known killer.

    "Overdose fatalities usually involve an opioid drug like heroin, Vicodin or Oxycontin that is taken for non-medical purposes in combination with alcohol or other drugs.

    Most overdose fatalities result from mixing drugs, and the most dangerous kind of drug to include in the mix is an opioid. Mixing "downs" or "depressant drugs"—the class that includes alcohol, opioids, and tranquilizers like Valium and Ambien—is what killed Heath Ledger, and is, according to Frank Vocci, director of the Division of Pharmacotherapy for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), "unquestionably" the deadliest combination. Seventy-five percent of overdoses involve drug mixtures."

    http://healthyliving.msn.com/health-wellness/bringing-back-the-overdose-dead-1?ocid=msnnws

  9. asdf Silver badge

    sounds like

    If Keith Moon would have been a computer nerd ...

  10. DJO Silver badge

    Fear & Loathing

    Strangely it's the booze on top of the drugs which was probably the fatal blow. Remember the notorious E deaths where hidden in the details was the information that they'd drunk a bottle of vodka or similar ludicrous amounts. Drugs really screw most peoples judgement that's why having a less stoned buddy around is vital.

    Preferably a buddy who is not a Samoan Attorney which is the traditional partner in Vegas if Hunter S. Thompson is to be believed:

    The trunk of the car looked like a mobile police narcotics lab. We had two bags of grass, seventy five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multicoloured uppers, downers, screamers, laughers and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls.All this had been rounded up the night before, in a frenzy of high speed driving all over Los Angeles County from Topanga to Watts, we picked up everything we could get our hands on. Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get locked into a serious drug collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fear & Loathing

      "... The only thing that really worried me was the ether. There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of an ether binge."

  11. ecofeco Silver badge
    Holmes

    Yeah. An overdose.

    That's what it was. Sure thing. An overdose.

    Uh huh. You bet.

  12. Nordrick Framelhammer

    Coverup!

    The autopsy is a coverup for the real conspiracy!

    They do not want it revealed that one of the NWO black copter drones piloted by a repiloid Illuminati crashed into him while taking a break from it's chemtrail and mind control transmissions, resulting ina nuclear explosion that took out several surrounding buildings. Sheeple are being brainwashed into believing the buildings are still there because Blue Beam projections are being transmitted from the multidimensional wormhole created by Comet ISON, which is rerally Nibiru/Planet X/dwarf star/brown star/mini blackhole.The effect is made possible by the flouride in our GMO foods.

    WWIII is just around the corner, followed by the Rapture just before the Annunaki reduce the population down to a few hundred thousand and heard them into world wide FEMA camps.

    It's a conspiracy I tells ya!

  13. Doug 3

    5 months for evidence erasure

    He died July25,2013 which is over 5 month and they are just now releasing the info?

    That just seems very very odd. And just exactly was he celebrating and why has no one mentioned why he'd be drinking like that on a Thursday or would that have been Wednesday? strange.

  14. Tom 13

    Let me get this straight...

    We have heroin, cocaine, Benadryl, Xanax, beer, and champagne but their calling it accidental?

    Strikes me as more like walking into a hacker convention with completely unpatched Windows XP laptop that turned on and using the unsecured wireless the venue has helpfully provided.

    1. oolor

      Re: Let me get this straight...

      >We have heroin, cocaine, Benadryl, Xanax, beer, and champagne but their calling it accidental?

      Welcome to North America, people have quite a lax attitude to alcohol and pharmaceutical use despite the seeming uptight bent of the continent. This stupid mindset that things a doctor can prescribe are 'safe' has been beaten into the minds of the population and seems to persist as does binge drinking across all but the most religious groups. Even amongst the nutter right wing evangelical types there is much booze and improper pharmaceutical use, while they look down on the street drug user who is actually less of a risk from a toxicology standpoint (obviously there are ties to a much higher propensity of other high risk lifestyle choices amongst street drug users but that is never the point they make).

  15. John Savard Silver badge

    Suspects

    Since he didn't break into ATMs to steal money, but instead helped to improve the security of computers from hackers, if we suspect that he was murdered, the obvious suspects are criminal hackers.

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