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Chrome and Mac OS X first to fall in Pwn2Own competition

Posted on Thursday, March 08 2012 @ 17:52:14 CET by

The Tech Report writes Google's Chrome browser was the first browser to be hacked during this year's Pwn2Own hacking competition. Last year Chrome came out pretty well, but perhaps Google's $60,000 prize for finding a "full Chrome exploit" was a good incentive to go the extra mile.
As ZDNet reports, security researcher Chaouki Bekrar and his team managed to take "complete control of a fully patched 64-bit Windows 7 (SP1) machine" using two zero-day vulnerabilities in Google's browser. Chaouki said the feat took six weeks of preparatory work that involved locating the vulnerabilities and writing code to exploit them.

Chrome ended up being the first browser to fall at the competition yesterday. "We wanted to show that Chrome was not unbreakable. Last year, we saw a lot of headlines that no one could hack Chrome. We wanted to make sure it was the first to fall this year," said Bekrar. The hacking competition was part of this year's CanSecWest conference, which is still going on today and tomorrow in Vancouver, Canada.
More news from Pwn2Own can be found at DailyTech, they report Apple's Mac OS X was the frist OS to be hacked at the event.
The conception that Apple, Inc. computers running OS X are magically more secure than Windows computers was dealt another setback this week. Using a flaw in Apple's pre-installed first-party Safari browser, it took French security pro Chaouki Bekrar merely 5 seconds to hijack the unwitting MacBook at the CanSecWest Conference's pwn2own contest in Vancouver, British Columbia.

On a most basic level the attack exploited Apple's weak memory protections in OS X Snow Leopard. Microsoft, more popular and more commonly attacked, includes two critical types of memory protection -- data execution prevention and robust address space layout optimization (ASLR) -- both of which attempt to prevent memory injection attacks. By contrast, Snow Leopard only supports ASLR and the implementation is badly botched according to hackers.



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