The fourth Pwnium contest organised by Google will give out up to 2.7 million dollars to anyone who manages to hack Chrome OS.
A few months ago, we heard the story of Khalil Shreateh, a Palestinian hacker who had written on Mark Zuckerberg’s wall exploiting a vulnerability in Facebook’s security that he had discovered. Khalil first contacted the security technicians of the famous social network to collect the 500 dollar award for discovering security holes, but when he didn’t hear back from the Facebook team, Khalin decided to act by writing a publication directly on Zuckerberg’s wall to demonstrate the hole. Following this, Facebook temporarily blocked his account and refused to give him the award, saying that it was not actually a vulnerability.
Despite this incident with this security expert, who by the way finally was more than compensated thanks to a collection organised by his fellow hackers, Facebook’s policy consists of rewarding anyone who discovers and reports any vulnerabilities that they find in the service. Google also invites people to hack into its systems in the interests of improving security. One of the events that it promotes for this purpose is the Pwnium contest, which will be held for the fourth time this year and that offers succulent prizes to those who achieve the goal. Specifically, winners will split up to 2.7 million dollars depending on the type of vulnerability that they discover and they will be allowed to make an attack through a website:
- – 110,000 dollars for every hacker who manages to compromise the browser or system, either as a guest user or registered user.
- – 150,000 dollars for anyone who finds a vulnerability that allows a persistent attack to be carried out.
In addition to these prizes, winners will earn the prestige of having found a vulnerability in an operating system that so far has shown itself to be quite secure and stable. There was no winner in 2013, despite the fact that there was more prize money available, 3.14 million dollars versus the 2.7 million that could be given out this time.
Anyone interested in participating in the Google contest has until 10 March to sign up. The fourth edition of Pwnium will be held on 12 March in Vancouver. The devices that will be included in the contest and that will be targeted for hacking are the HP Chromebook 11 (Wi-Fi) and the Acer C720 Chromebook (2GB Wi-Fi).
The Chromebook is still relatively unknown in Spain, but in the US, they are starting to represent an important percentage of sales. According to a study by the NPD Group, from January to November 2013, 900,000 Chromebooks were sold, representing 9.6% of the total device sales (PCs, laptops and tablets). However, there are dissenting voices that now say that actual Chromebook use is much lower than the announced sales figures.