The annual PWN2OWN contest is really popular. It’s a friendly contest that offers cash prizes to computer experts who can successfully hack fully patched machines.
While it all sounds a little sinister, the competition is actually part of CanSecWest, a security conference in Vancouver and is sponsored by a security company (Tipping Point). Last year the MacBook Air was broken in about 2 minutes and was the first to go. As if that weren’t embarrassing enough, the same guy this year hacked a fully up to date MacBook in a reported 10 seconds by exploiting a vulnerability in the Safari browser.
“It took a couple of seconds. They clicked on the link and I took control of the machine,” Charlie Miller said, according to ZDNet. Miller won himself $10,000 and got to hold onto the MacBook. He also said he came to CanSecWest with the intention to hack into Safari and tested the exploit to make sure it worked first time around.
Another hacker, who refers to himself as Nils, was second to break Safari. He also managed to exploit Internet Explore 8 (running on a Windows 7 machine) and later turned his double win into a hat trick by felling Mozilla’s Firefox.
Details of the vulnerabilities are being kept quiet until patches are released. But according to Tipping Point, Nils IE8 bug was “brilliant."
Check out the full stories on ZDNet.