Feeds

Plug-in pwning challenge brings Pwn2Own prizes to $US560k

Adobe and Java under the spotlight

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

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. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Tor attack nodes RIPPED MASKS off users for 6 MONTHS
Traffic confirmation attack bared users' privates - but to whom?
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.