Pwnium 3 and Pwn2Own Results

Monday, March 18, 2013

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Earlier this month at the CanSecWest security conference, the Chrome team took part in another Pwn2Own and hosted our third-edition Pwnium competition. This year’s participants once again impressed us with their talent and security prowess. We’re excited about what lessons we can learn from their work to make Chrome and Chrome OS even more secure.

At Pwnium, we didn’t receive any winning entries, but did reserve the right to issue “partial” rewards. We’re pleased to reward $40,000 to Pinkie Pie, who submitted a plausible bug chain involving video parsing, a Linux kernel bug and a config file error. The submission included an unreliable exploit demonstrating one of the bugs. We’ve fixed most of these bugs already.

In particular, we’d like to thank Pinkie Pie for honoring the spirit of the competition by disclosing a partial exploit at the deadline, rather than holding on to bugs in lieu of an end-to-end exploit. This means that we can find fixes sooner, target new hardening measures and keep users safe.

In the parallel Pwn2Own contest, participants attacked many different browsers and plug-ins. There was a top prize on the line for Chrome, which was claimed by Nils and Jon of MWR Labs. Of the two bugs used, one bug was in Chrome code, which we fixed in 24 hours. Thankfully, recently deployed hardening measures protected Chrome OS users. The second bug was in the Windows kernel. The new Pwn2Own rules required the researcher to hand the bug and exploit over to Microsoft, so we’re delighted that the Chrome entry will make other products safer, beyond just Chrome.

While these security gatherings and live competitions are fun, we also want to highlight the ongoing Chromium Vulnerability Reward Program, which covers not only the Chrome desktop browser, but also all Chrome OS components and Chrome on mobile devices. We’ve given away more than $900,000 in rewards over the years and we’re itching to give more, as engaging the security community is one of the best ways to keep all Internet users safe.

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