For you really tech smart people out there, Google has issued a challenge for you. It’s quite simple: Hack Google Chrome Web browser successfully, and they’ll give you $20,000 cash and a Chrome CR-48.
You’ll have your work set out for you though. Last year, Google’s web browser was the only one left untouched at CanSecWest Pwn2Own (yes that is the real name) 2010, ZDNet wrote. This year, they’ve upped the stakes with the larger cash prize.
The hacks will have to be made to Chrome Web browser’s running on the latest 64-bit release of either Windows 7 or Mac OS X. Contest rules state that the hack must “must include a sandbox escape,” which means whatever the hack weakens may be combined with another security flaw that must be written in Google code to cause the whole system to crumble. (Chrome supposedly has built-in sandbox protection. According to PC World, “The sandbox segregates untrusted or potentially malicious scripts so they are unable to impact the core browser, or the underlying PC. Because of the sandbox, it will take some extra effort for an attack against the Chrome Web browser to be considered a success.”)
The contest runs from March 9 -11, 2011 in Vancouver, Canada as part of the CanSecWest conference. The $20,000 and the computer is only going to be offered the first day. If it happens on day two or three, you get $10,000 for a sandbox escape in non-Google code and $10,000 for the Chrome bug. Plugins other than the built-in PDF support cannot be added to create the hack.
Hacking Microsoft Internet Explorer, Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox are also part of the Pwn2Own contest, but they don’t get as awesome of a shiny money prize. Still, there is an additional $105,000 in prize money that Hewlett-Packard and TippingPoint is offering to others who crack codes during the contest. Chances are most of us aren’t talented enough to do this work, but it’s nice to know that these companies support developers who are smart enough to take them down.
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