Zerodium offers $100k to crack newly hardened Adobe Flash

Exploit broker Zerodium has offered up to $100,000 for an attack that bypasses anti-exploit mitigations for Flash Player.

Zerodium controversially paid $1m for a zero-day exploit for iOS 9 and is now dangling a new $100,000 bounty this month for each exploit that can bypass Adobe’s efforts to harden Flash Player against the latest exploit techniques.

The new bounty comes amid growing calls for Adobe to sunset its media player due to a spate of zero day flaws in recent years that have been exploited by state-backed and criminal hackers. Zerodium meanwhile claims to pay the highest rewards on the market for “high impact” exploits, which it shares with its paying clients rather than the vendor of the affected product that may otherwise fix the issue.

Zerodium on Tuesday said it would pay $100,000 for each exploit that bypasses heap isolation in Flash Player with a sandbox escape. It would pay $60,000 for a bypass without a sandbox escape.

Adobe’s principal scientist Peleus Uhley several weeks ago outlined some of the “heap isolation” work it had undertaken with help from Microsoft and Project Zero, Google’s security team tasked with finding high impact bugs in third-party products.

Some of these security improvements had shipped with versions of Flash Player released in July. The next zero day exploit hit Flash in October, though it didn’t bypass the mitigations Google helped Adobe develop.

As Uhley noted, in its December Flash Player update Adobe “deployed a rewrite of our memory manager to create the foundation for widespread heap isolation which we will build on, going forward.”

“This change will limit the ability for attackers to effectively leverage use-after-free vulnerabilities for exploitation,” he added.

Late in December Adobe raced out an emergency patch for Flash Player to fix 19 flaws, 13 of which were use-after-free — an increasingly popular flaw to attack to gain control of a target computer.

Read more: The week in security: Place your security best for 2016

Through two updates in December Adobe patched 100 flaws in Flash Player, including one zero day that was reportedly being exploited.

Besides its work with Google on heap isolation, Adobe has worked with Microsoft to integrate its new Control Flow Guard protection.

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