Announcing Pwnium 2

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

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The first Pwnium competition held earlier this year exceeded our expectations. We received two submissions of such complexity and quality that both of them won Pwnie Awards at this year’s Black Hat industry event. Most importantly, we were able to make Chromium significantly stronger based on what we learned.

We’re therefore going to host another Pwnium competition, called... Pwnium 2. It will be held on Oct 10th, 2012 at the Hack In The Box 10 year anniversary conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

This time, we’ll be sponsoring up to $2 million worth of rewards at the following reward levels:

  • $60,000: “Full Chrome exploit”: Chrome / Win7 local OS user account persistence using only bugs in Chrome itself. 
  • $50,000: “Partial Chrome exploit”: Chrome / Win7 local OS user account persistence using at least one bug in Chrome itself, plus other bugs. For example, a WebKit bug combined with a Windows kernel bug. 
  • $40,000: “Non-Chrome exploit”: Flash / Windows / other. Chrome / Win7 local OS user account persistence that does not use bugs in Chrome. For example, bugs in one or more of Flash, Windows or a driver. 
  • $Panel decision: “Incomplete exploit”: An exploit that is not reliable, or an incomplete exploit chain. For example, code execution inside the sandbox but no sandbox escape; or a working sandbox escape in isolation. For Pwnium 2, we want to reward people who get “part way” as we could definitely learn from this work. Our rewards panel will judge any such works as generously as we can. 
Exploits should be demonstrated against the latest stable version of Chrome. Chrome and the underlying operating system and drivers will be fully patched and running on an Acer Aspire V5-571-6869 laptop (which we’ll be giving away to the best entry.) Exploits should be served from a password-authenticated and HTTPS Google property, such as App Engine. The bugs used must be novel i.e. not known to us or fixed on trunk. Please document the exploit.

You may have noticed that we’ve compressed the reward levels closer together for Pwnium 2. This is in response to feedback, and reflects that any local account compromise is very serious. We’re happy to make the web safer by any means -- even rewarding vulnerabilities outside of our immediate control.

Another well-received piece of feedback from the first Pwnium was that more notice would have been nice. Accordingly, we’re giving about two months notice. We hope this gives enough time for the security community to craft more beautiful works, which we’d be more than happy to reward and celebrate.

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