Steve Gold, a prominent information security journalist and SC Magazine contributor, has died.
Steve Gold, a prominent information security journalist and SC Magazine contributor, has died.

Steve, an internationally recognized expert on IT crime and cyber-terrorism, died peacefully in hospital on 12 January from complications following heart surgery.

Tributes to him have begun pouring in on social media from across the security and journalist communities.

Steve first came to national prominence in the mid-1980s when he and fellow journalist Robert Schifreen, exploring the limits of technology, hacked BT's Prestel communications service and famously accessed the personal message box of Prince Philip.

The two were subsequently convicted at Southwark Crown Court on charges under the Forgery & Counterfeiting Act, but successfully appealed and were acquitted on the basis that they had not obtained any material gain from their exploits.

Their case led directly to the introduction of the 1990 Computer Misuse Act, and Steve went on to detail the case in the Hackers' Handbook, of which he co-wrote later editions with Professor Peter Sommer. He even spoke at conferences alongside arresting officers in the case.

Steve subsequently resumed his near 30-year career as a prolific cyber-security, communications and technology journalist.

He helped to found SC Magazine, the world's first dedicated IT security news publication, in 1994 and was then news editor of SC for 12 years.

At the time of his death, he was a regular contributor to SC Magazine, as well as group editor of Cloud Computing World and Netcomms Europe, and editor of Lawtech Magazine. He also lectured regularly on criminal psychology and cyber-crime.

He was also a former editor of IT Security Pro and technical editor of Infosecurity Magazine, and wrote on a freelance basis for the Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, The Guardian and The Times.

Professor John Walker, Director of CSIRT and Cyber Forensics at Cytelligence Ltd, said of Steve: “This is so very sad. I became aware of Steve way back in his early days of hacking, and I purchased his book. Then one day I got lucky and met the man – nice guy, friendly, and over the years I formed a very close friendship with him, as did many others who came into his company.

“He is a sad loss to his family, his friends, and to all those who ever met him. People like Steve don't come along that often, and I doubt I will ever meet another like him in my lifetime. Today the world became a much darker place for many who were touched by this very nice chap.”

Sarb Sembhi, consultancy services director at Incoming Thought and a leading light in the ISACA security professionals organisation, said: “Steve was one of the most knowledgeable people in the industry, with a great background of understanding the issues from all perspectives.