Due to the change in rules for this year's Pwn2Own competition, Google is offering its own prizes for a Chrome Hack in its Pwnium contest. $1 million says you can't hack Chrome.
Anyone who can demonstrate a successful hack of Google’s Chrome browser at next week's CanSecWest security conference will be awarded a prize of up to $60,000.
There are also prizes of $40,000 and $20,000 depending on the severity of the exploit. The test, titled Pwnium, will be to hack the browser running on Windows 7 machines at the conference.
According the Chromium blog there will be multiple rewards per category, up to the $1 million limit, on a first-come-first served basis. The rules are that each set of exploit bugs should be reliable, fully functional end to end, disjoint, of critical impact, present in the latest versions and genuinely “0-day,”, i.e. not known to Google or previously shared with third parties.
The conference organizers are running the Pwn2Own competition as in previous years, with $105,000 USD donated by Hewlett-Packard to be shared amongst three winners, but Google is uneasy about sponsoring this year's contest because the rules don’t specifically state that full details of exploits should be shown to the competition organizers.
The blog post says:
“Originally, our plan was to sponsor as part of this year’s Pwn2Own competition. Unfortunately, we decided to withdraw our sponsorship when we discovered that contestants are permitted to enter Pwn2Own without having to reveal full exploits (or even all of the bugs used!) to vendors. Full exploits have been handed over in previous years, but it’s an explicit non-requirement in this year’s contest, and that’s worrisome.”
Chrome has never been hacked in the Pwn2Own competition. As we reported last year Internet Explorer and Safari were both hacked but in fact no-one attempted to hack Chrome, which left it unhacked for for the third year in a row. Despite an additional $20,000 bounty on offer from Google the individual challenger who had registered to hack Chrome was a no-show and a team that has intended to exploit Chrome targeted the BlackBerry instead. The reason given by potential contestants for this is that Google’s security sandbox is just too hard to get through. Perhaps a million dollars will be enough of a lure to change this situation.