Google rounds up Pwnie prize to $π million for Chrome OS hacks

Google shoves Chrome OS in to the hacker spotlight.

Google has ‘rounded up’ the cash prize pool available to Pwnium 3 hacking contestants to $3.14159 million, or π, but hackers will need to break more than the browser to get a piece.

The pi-sized prize pool is just over $1 million larger than the $2 million up for grabs in its second Pwnie contest at the Hack in the Box conference last August. Back then, a young hacker who goes by the name “Pinkie Pie” took out the top level prize of $60,000 for delivering a “full Chrome exploit” on a fully patched Windows 7 machine running the latest release of Chrome.

The third round of its Pwnie competition will happen at CanSecWest conference on March 7 in Vancouver, Canada, but unlike previous competitions Chrome browser exploits are off the prize list.

Instead, hackers will need to develop attacks for Chrome OS -- the OS for Samsung and Acer low-cost Chromebooks -- and top individual prize levels have been raised from $60,000 to $150,000.

“We believe these larger rewards reflect the additional challenge involved with tackling the security defences of Chrome OS, compared to traditional operating systems,” Google Chrome Security Team member Chris Evans wrote in a blog post.

Contestants will be offered $110,000 for a successful exploit delivered by a web page that achieves a browser or system level compromise “in guest mode or as a logged-in user”. A $150,000 prize will be offered for a “compromise with device persistence -- guest to guest with interim reboot, delivered via a web page”.

Hackers will need to demonstrate their attacks against a Wifi-only model of Samsung’s Series 5 550 Chromebook running the latest stable version of Chrome OS. The current beta Chrome OS version 25.0.1364.46 was updated last week.

Chrome browser exploits will still get a showing at CanSecWest but will be run under HP’s Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) Pwn2Own title, for which Google has tipped in some cash.

Follow @CSO_Australia and sign up to the CSO Australia newsletter.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags PwniehacksGoogle Chrome OS

More about AcerCSOGoogleHPSamsung

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Liam Tung

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place