Safari and IE8 broken at pwn2own, as Chrome escapes controlled hacking contest

News by SC Staff

Apple's Safari browser was the first to be broken at this year's pwn2own contest at the CanSecWest conference in Vancouver.

Apple's Safari browser was the first to be broken at this year's pwn2own contest at the CanSecWest conference in Vancouver.

Safari, being run on a fully patched Mac OS X, was exploited by vulnerability research company Vupen. It said on its Twitter feed that it ‘pwned Apple Safari on Mac OS X (x64) at pwn2own in five seconds. Congrats to all Vupen team members for their hard work'.

It previously commented that Apple had released Safari 5.0.4 and iOS 4.3 a few minutes before the pwn2own contest, yet it was able to break the up-to-date software by successfully exploiting a zero-day flaw. Vupen won a £15,000 cash prize and a 13-inch MacBook Air for winning the contest.

Shortly afterwards, Stephen Fewer from vulnerability research and consultancy company Harmony, tweeted that he had ‘just popped ie8 at pwn2own'. Fewer received a laptop and a $15,000 cash prize for his efforts.

Aaron Portnoy, manager of the security research team at Pwn2Own sponsor HP TippingPoint, pointed out that Fewer had successfully compromised Internet Explorer with a Protected Mode bypass switched on.

According to eWeek, the two contestants who signed up to hack Google Chrome did not show up, meaning that it was the most secure browser for the second year running and got to keep its $20,000 prize.

Technical details of the exploits legally belong to HP TippingPoint under contest rules; they provide information to Microsoft and Apple and give them six months to fix the flaws before publicising them.

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