Feeds

Plug-in pwning challenge brings Pwn2Own prizes to $US560k

Adobe and Java under the spotlight

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Webcam hacker pervs in MASS HOME INVASION
You thought you were all alone? Nope – change your password, says ICO
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Meet OneRNG: a fully-open entropy generator for a paranoid age
Kiwis to seek random investors for crowd-funded randomiser
USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked
Thumb drive design ruled by almighty buck
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The hidden costs of self-signed SSL certificates
Exploring the true TCO for self-signed SSL certificates, including a side-by-side comparison of a self-signed architecture versus working with a third-party SSL vendor.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.