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Appeared on: Friday, February 04, 2011
Google Offers $20,000 To Potential Chrome Browser Hackers

At the Pwn2Own contest next month, Google will offer $20,000 to the first security researcher who can gain full control of a laptop running its Chrome Browser.

The "hacking" contest will be taking place on the 9th, 10th, and 11th of March, 2011 in Vancouver, BC during the CanSecWest conference.

HP TippingPoint is funding $105,000 of prizes and Google has offered up $20,000 to the researcher who can best their Chrome browser. Similarly to last year the competition will focus on two main technologies: web browsers and mobile devices.

This year's web browser targets will be the latest release candidate (at the time of the contest) of Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Apple's Safari, Mozilla's Firefox and Google's Chrome browsers.

Each browser will be installed on a 64-bit system running the latest version of either OS X or Windows 7.

The laptop prizes include a Sony Vaio running Windows 7, an Alienware m11x running Windows 7, an Apple MacBook Air 13" running Mac OS X Snow Leopard and a Google CR-48 running ChromeOS.

As for Chrome, the contest will be a two-part one. On day 1, Google will offer $20,000 USD and the CR-48 if a contestant can pop the browser and escape the sandbox using vulnerabilities purely present in Google-written code. If competitors are unsuccessful, on day 2 and 3 the ZDI will offer $10,000 USD for a sandbox escape in non-Google code and Google will offer $10,000 USD for the Chrome bug. Either way, plugins other than the built-in PDF support are out of scope.

A successful hack of IE, Safari, or Firefox will net the competitor a $15,000 USD cash prize, the laptop itself, and 20,000 ZDI reward points which immediately qualifies them for Silver standing. Benefits of ZDI Silver standing include a one-time $5,000 USD cash payment, 15% monetary bonus on all ZDI submissions in 2011, 25% reward point bonus on all ZDI submissions in 2011 and paid travel and registration to attend the DEFCON Conference in Las Vegas.

This year's competition is also focusing on hacks against mobile phone targets. A base station will be available on-site so that competitors will be able to perform attacks against the cell phone basebands.

The following are the target mobile devices for the contest:

* Dell Venue Pro running Windows 7
* iPhone 4 running iOS
* Blackberry Torch 9800 running Blackberry 6 OS
* Nexus S running Android

A successful attack against these devices must require little to no user interaction and must compromise useful data from the phone. Any attack that can incur cost upon the owner of the device (such as silently calling long-distance numbers, eavesdropping on conversations, and so forth) is within scope.

A successful compromise of any of these targets will win the contestant a cash prize of $15,000 USD, the device itself, and 20,000 ZDI reward points which immediately qualifies them for Silver standing. Benefits of ZDI Silver standing include a one-time $5,000 USD cash payment, 15% monetary bonus on all ZDI submissions in 2011, 25% reward point bonus on all ZDI submissions in 2011 and paid travel and registration to attend the DEFCON Conference in Las Vegas.

Last year the contest was a great success, with three of the four browsers successfully compromised as well as the Apple iPhone.


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