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Safari and IE8 Were the First to Fall at Pwn2Own

By - Source: Ars Technica | B 28 comments

Apple's Safari browser was the first to fall at the annual Pwn2Own hacking contest taking place at the CanSecWest conference in Vancouver.

Every year, Pwn2Own sees security experts and hackers attempt to hack into machines by exploiting vulnerabilities in the computers' browsers. This year, both Apple and Google released last minute updates before the competition started. Despite this, Safari was the first to fall. Ars Technica reports that VUPEN, a French security company and the first to take a shot at Apple's browser, had gained control of the fully-patched Mac OS X 10.6.6 MacBook five seconds after the browser visited its specially-crafted web page. Despite Apple's update to Safari, the exploit still worked in version 5.0.4.

Next to go was Internet Explorer, which didn't receive an update prior to the competition. Stephen Fewer of Harmony Security managed to beat the 32-bit version of Internet Explorer 8 running on 64-bit Windows 7 Service Pack 1 using three separate vulnerabilities. Two of these were to achieve successful code execution within the browser, with the third being needed escape IE's Protected Mode sandbox. Fewer told Ars that it took him five to six weeks to put together the attack.

The hacker scheduled to take on Google’s Chrome on a Cr-48 Chrome OS notebook was a no-show.

Read more about the exploits and the hackers that beat Safari and IE8 on Ars Technica.

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  • 2 Hide
    sabot00 , March 11, 2011 12:25 AM
    No surprises.
  • 1 Hide
    kilo_17 , March 11, 2011 12:34 AM
    It fascinates me how they can crack these browsers in seconds.
  • 4 Hide
    enzo matrix , March 11, 2011 12:44 AM
    kilo_17It fascinates me how they can crack these browsers in seconds.

    Why? Considering:
    Fewer told Ars that it took him five to six weeks to put together the attack.
  • 1 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , March 11, 2011 12:46 AM
    Do the hackers reveal their methods?
  • 2 Hide
    Mr_Bojangles , March 11, 2011 12:48 AM
    kilo_17It fascinates me how they can crack these browsers in seconds.


    It fascinates me how people can take things so widely out of context. The amount of preparation is what you should look at, not the time frame from within the attack was executed.
  • 4 Hide
    JMcEntegart , March 11, 2011 12:51 AM
    kilo_17It fascinates me how they can crack these browsers in seconds.


    They come up with the exploits prior to the contest and then when the contest starts it's just a case of just running it. Still very impressive, though. Particularly when you consider the fact that Apple patched Safari the day before the competition. That could easily have neutralized VUPEN's exploit.
  • 8 Hide
    masterjaw , March 11, 2011 1:19 AM
    This only shows that Apple is no better than Microsoft in terms of security. The ones who claim that "Mac OS is more secure than Windows" is because of its Unix nature, not because of Apple. Heck, even Mac OS is easily defeated during hacking events.

    Makes you wonder how would be our security landscape if Apple did got 70-80% of world's computing resources.
  • 3 Hide
    molo9000 , March 11, 2011 1:31 AM
    These headlines are misleading!
    Who falls first, second, third, etc. is all down to how the event is scheduled.
  • 7 Hide
    chick0n , March 11, 2011 1:49 AM
    masterjawThis only shows that Apple is no better than Microsoft in terms of security. The ones who claim that "Mac OS is more secure than Windows" is because of its Unix nature, not because of Apple. Heck, even Mac OS is easily defeated during hacking events.Makes you wonder how would be our security landscape if Apple did got 70-80% of world's computing resources.


    Steve will come out and say :

    "You use the internet wrong."
  • 3 Hide
    slothy89 , March 11, 2011 3:04 AM
    JohnnyLuckyDo the hackers reveal their methods?
    Yes they do, to the owners of the failed software so they can patch the exploits. These guys are known as "White Hat" hackers, or Crackers.

    No, they do not publish them publicly to allow "Black Hat" hackers to exploit them for malicious purposes.

    This is a professional event designed to test and FIX issues with the worlds popular Browsers and OS's
  • 1 Hide
    bsbsbsbs , March 11, 2011 3:37 AM
    Can basically anything can be hacked?

    Yes it can.

    What was that quote from BTTF? Oh yeah, "If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything" Marty to George Mcfly.
  • 2 Hide
    jimmysmitty , March 11, 2011 4:15 AM
    I just wonder where IE9 and FF4.0 came in. Both are great browsers.

    As for Safari, it shows just how vulnerable Mac OSX really is. Since Apple doesn't have many viruses, they don't worry about patching holes. I can imagine if a bad virus got out, a lot of Mac fans would be pissed.

    But Jobes would just tell them they are using it wrong anyways.
  • 3 Hide
    virtualban , March 11, 2011 6:41 AM
    Quote:
    The hacker scheduled to take on Google’s Chrome on a Cr-48 Chrome OS notebook was a no-show.

    Funny, and let's have a conspiracy theory about this too ;) 
  • 0 Hide
    endgadget , March 11, 2011 7:15 AM
    "Safari and IE8 Were the First to Fall at Pwn2Own"

    Shouldn't that be, "Safari was the first to fall at Pwn2Own"?

  • 2 Hide
    Pherule , March 11, 2011 8:08 AM
    Would be interesting to see where Firefox with Adblock/Noscript/WOT protection would come in.
  • 1 Hide
    house70 , March 11, 2011 10:39 AM
    endgadget"Safari and IE8 Were the First to Fall at Pwn2Own"Shouldn't that be, "Safari was the first to fall at Pwn2Own"?

    Yes, but that would be tantamount to admit that Safari (an Apple product) is less secure than IE8 (a Microsoft product). You will not see such a thing on certain websites, this one included.
  • 5 Hide
    Shodar , March 11, 2011 12:06 PM
    virtualbanFunny, and let's have a conspiracy theory about this too


    The hacker for Chrome must of been an no-show because he was too busy fighting off the army of Androids that Google sent out to hunt him down and "take him out".
  • -1 Hide
    molo9000 , March 11, 2011 12:08 PM
    house70Yes, but that would be tantamount to admit that Safari (an Apple product) is less secure than IE8 (a Microsoft product). You will not see such a thing on certain websites, this one included.

    LOL
    This isn't Hollywood. What the hackers do at pwn2own is execute attacks that were prepared and tested long before the event even started.
    Which system falls first is determined by the organizers, who decide when a hacker gets to attack what, and has nothing whatsoever to do with security.
  • 1 Hide
    virtualban , March 11, 2011 12:17 PM
    ShodarThe hacker for Chrome must of been an no-show because he was too busy fighting off the army of Androids that Google sent out to hunt him down and "take him out".

    LOL
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 11, 2011 2:43 PM
    @molo9000

    or the hacker could have failed at compromising the system, which has everything to do with security.....
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