Feeds

Plug-in pwning challenge brings Pwn2Own prizes to $US560k

Adobe and Java under the spotlight

High performance access to file storage

The organizers of the Pwn2Own hacking competition held at the annual CanSecWest security conference have upped the prize pool to $US560,000 and will now be offering prizes for hacking web plug-ins from Adobe and Oracle.

The contest, which dropped mobile phone hacking last year, has added web plug-in hacking to the prize pool. Contestants get $70,000 apiece for cracking Adobe Reader and Flash, and $20,000 for getting past Java. Based on the latter's recent parlous performance in the security arena that price discount seems justified.

"We've added browser plug-ins as a reflection of their increasing popularity as an attack vector," said Brian Gorenc, manager of vulnerability research at Pwn2Own sponsors HP DVLabs. "We want to demonstrate new hacking areas and design new mitigation techniques."

For the more traditional hacks against browsers, a working Chrome exploit for Windows 7 will net $100,000, with the same again for an IE10 hack in Windows 8 or $75,000 for breaking IE9 in Windows 7. A Safari exploit in OSX Mountain Lion is worth $65,000 and Firefox on Windows 7 just $60,000, and all hacks must be completed in a 30 minute time frame.

"As always, we look forward to working with anyone who can help us make our products better to help protect our users," an Adobe spokeswoman told El Reg.

As ever with the Pwn2Own competition, the winning hackers also get the laptop used in the successful hack. HP, meanwhile, is asking for the full details of the exploits used and the technique followed in a successful hit, which it will share with the cracked software's developer. This latest rule change has some security researchers worried.

"If the full exploit & technique are shared with the vendor, we will probably *not* enter, or we have to use some tricks ;-)," said last year's winner Chaouki Bekrar, CEO of security research firm VUPEN, on Twitter. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
Experian subsidiary faces MEGA-PROBE for 'selling consumer data to fraudster'
US attorneys general roll up sleeves, snap on gloves
NSA denies it knew about and USED Heartbleed encryption flaw for TWO YEARS
Agency forgets it exists to protect communications, not just spy on them
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.