Pwned!! Hackers Crack Most Major Platforms at Pwn2Own 2013

by Ostatic Staff - Mar. 07, 2013

Over the past few years, the Pwn2Own hacker contest has become an important fixture in the world of testing the security of software applications, operating systems and hardware devices. This year, HP TippingPoint, a sponsor of Pwn2Own, made clear that it was expanding the focus of the competition beyond browsers. Pwn2own 2013 also includes more than $560,000 in prize money for demonstrations of exploits in the major web browsers, Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash or Oracle Java.

And now, with the Pwn2Own contest underway, participants at the Canadian hacking showcase (which is always held in conjunction with the CanSecWest security conference) have found holes in Windows 8, Java and every major browser. Here is more on how the exploits just keep comin'.

"We've pwned MS Surface Pro with two IE10 zero-days to achieve a full Windows 8 compromise with sandbox bypass," French security researcher VUPEN proudly tweeted from Pwn2Own. As Computerworld notes:

"Research teams Wednesday cracked Microsoft's Internet Explorer 10 (IE10), Google's Chrome and Mozilla's Firefox at the Pwn2Own hacking contest, pulling in more than $250,000 in prizes. Earlier in the day, a solo hacker exploited Oracle's Java to win $20,000."

VUPEN researchers have also cracked Firefox 19 on the Windows 7 platform.

This kind of news may creep some users out. After all, the Pwn2Own participants are easily crumbling the major platforms that many of us use. But the fact is that these contests help technology developers identify where holes exist in their creations, which ends up benefiting everyone. 

It's only natural that the scope and prize money for this contest are expanding. Google is a sponsor this time around, and it won't be a surprise to see other large tech companies join as sponsors.