The Top 10 White-Hat Hacks

By Jordan Robertson - 2014-07-23T01:49:30Z

Photograph by Isaac Brekken/AP Photo

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Breaking the Bank

Barnaby Jack had a classic hacker's mindset: Buy a new device or piece of software and start picking it apart with attack code. What set him apart was his choice of targets.

When Jack took the stage at Black Hat in 2010, he showed how, using just a laptop, he could wirelessly reprogram some ATMs to spit out cash. Jack's programming code was displayed on a giant screen on one side of the stage, and two target ATMs being exploited were on the other.

The crowd erupted in cheers at the sight of cash spewing from the machines, and for a moment, the scene resembled a basketball game more than a hacker conference. Jack, who died last year at the age of 35, had cheekily dubbed the technique "jackpotting," and said he was initially doubtful he could pull off the hack when he bought the ATMs on eBay.

By working with the ATM manufacturers, Jack's findings led to software updates and stronger safeguards. His later work focused on security vulnerabilities in insulin pumps and pacemakers.