Cybersecurity expert Dan Kaminsky has died at the age of 42 — leaving his niece to battle speculation that he was killed by complications resulting from a recent COVID-19 vaccination.
The tech genius’s niece, Sarah, confirmed the news over the weekend, citing diabetic ketoacidosis, a serious diabetic complication, as a cause of death. At the same time, she sought to quash reports that Kaminsky’s passing was related to the coronavirus vaccine that Kaminsky tweeted about receiving on April 12.
“While his passing was sudden and unexpected for us, Dan struggled for years with diabetes and was even recently hospitalized because of it,” according to the niece, whose message was posted in a tweet on Sunday.
“I think Dan would laugh at the idea of conspiracy theorists promoting anti-vax propaganda through his death,” she added. “But as his family, it hurts us to see his death being used to spread lies about a vaccine that he had full faith in.”
Kaminsky is perhaps best known for his work on the Domain Name System, which is a database where internet domain names are located and translated into internet protocol addresses. In 2008, Kaminsky revealed a fundamental security flaw in the DNS at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, which led to widespread changes.
Kaminsky, who also worked as an adviser to a number of Fortune 500 companies on security, was so trusted for his skills that he was selected in 2010 as one of seven people who could “reboot the web” in the event of a catastrophic internet meltdown.
Kaminsky’s family statement didn’t stop rumors over the technologist’s death, however. QAnon followers wildly speculated about Kaminsky’s death, citing his high level of security knowledge as a reason.
According to Vice News, on the We The Media channel on the Telegram messaging app, a moderator flagged Kaminsky’s position as one of the seven “key-masters to the internet,” speculating without any evidence that Kaminsky was killed because of his standing.
Meanwhile, Alex Berenson, a former New York Times reporter and anti-vaxxer, caused a dustup on Twitter over Kaminsky’s passing.
“Look, I don’t want to turn on the firehose on this guy’s family at a very difficult time, so I didn’t want to go into this. But this person publicly reported being vaccinated; six days later his tweets abruptly stopped and less than a week that after his death was reported,” he tweeted.