$40,000 awarded in ethical hacking competition

March 19, 2013

A cybersecurity expert has been awarded a $40,000 cash reward for discovering a partial exploit in the Google Chrome web browser.

In a blog post published March 18, Google Chromium chief reward officer Chris Evans confirmed that a man going by the alias Pinkie Pie had received the prize for his participation in a recent ethical hacking competition hosted by Google.

"Earlier this month at the CanSecWest security conference, the Chrome team took part in another Pwn2Own and hosted our third-edition Pwnium competition," wrote Mr Evans.

"This year’s participants once again impressed us with their talent and security prowess. We’re excited about what lessons we can learn from their work to make Chrome and Chrome OS even more secure."

According to Mr Evans, no full vulnerabilities were discovered by any of the participants in the Pwnium competition. However Pinkie Pie was honoured with a "partial" reward for identifying "a plausible bug chain involving video parsing, a Linux kernel bug and a config file error".

This year, the CanSecWest security conference also hosted the Pwn2Own contest, which was held in parallel with the Pwnium competition and saw competitors attacking multiple different browsers across the day.

Mr Evans writes that the Pwn2Own competition saw a top prize claimed for the discovery of a bug in the code of the Chrome browser, as well as the identification of a bug in the Windows kernel.

Ethical hacking competitions such as this are seen as a popular vulnerability management tool amongst many technology developers, as they offer a chance to test the security of a piece of software in a relatively safe manner.

Your organisation can conduct an ethical hacking evaluation of its own by contacting the Red Cell team for a comprehensive assessment of existing cybersecurity protocols.

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