Security Experts:

Over $500,000 Up For Grabs at Mobile Pwn2Own 2017 Hacking Competition

Trend Micro this week said that it will offer over $500,000 in cash prizes at Zero Day Initiative’s Mobile Pwn2Own contest, set to take place Nov. 1-2, during the PacSec 2017 Conference in Tokyo, Japan.

The sixth annual Mobile Pwn2Own competition will have four different targets available, namely Google Pixel, Samsung Galaxy S8, Apple iPhone 7, and Huawei Mate9 Pro, and will allow contestants to compete in four categories, including Browsers, Short Distance and WiFi, Messaging, and Baseband.

Security researchers and hackers will be encouraged to demonstrate and disclose zero-day attacks against up-to-date (fully patched) mobile platforms. Should a new version of these phones become available in time to be integrated into the contest, Trend Micro and the Zero Day Initiative will work to add it as an available target platform.

In the Mobile Browser category, hackers and researchers will target Google Chrome, Apple Safari, and the Samsung Internet Browser, competing for prizes of $50,000, $40,000, and $30,000, respectively. In the Short Distance and WiFi category, attacks happening over Bluetooth, near field communication (NFC), or WiFi will be accepted, prized $40,000, $50,000, and $60,000, respectively.

Contestants in the messaging category will be able to submit SMS or MMS exploits, each worth $60,000 of cash. Those competing in the Baseband category can win $100,000--the biggest prize in the competition.

“Following the contest, vendors will have 90 days to produce patches for these bugs, instead of the standard 120 disclosure window. This reflects the integrity of successful exploits produced during the contest. As these are practical vulnerabilities with demonstrated applications, a shortened patch window helps provide quicker protection for the end user against potentially damaging bugs,” Trend Micro notes.

The security firm also announced that successful entries will also receive "Master of Pwn" points and the device itself for each attempt. The tradition of crowning a Master of Pwn will return this year, Trend Micro’s Brian Gorenc points out.

Gorenc also says that successful attempts will be eligible for a series of Add-on Bonuses, including a Kernel Bonus (the exploit payload must execute with kernel-level privileges) consisting of an extra $20,000 and an additional 3 Master of Pwn points, and a Persistence Bonus (the exploit payload can survive a reboot of the device), consisting of an additional $50,000 for iOS / $40,000 for Android, and an additional 3 Master of Pwn points.

There are also a series of penalties in place that contestants should be aware of. Those interested in participating are encouraged to read the complete set of rules for Mobile Pwn2Own 2017. Entrants should contact ZDI at [email protected] to begin the registration process.

“Since mobile device are now ubiquitous, security flaws in these platforms are coveted by criminal elements and government agencies alike. Mobile Pwn2Own helps harden these devices and their OSes by revealing vulnerabilities and providing that research to the vendors. The goal is to get these bugs fixed before they’re actively exploited,” Gorenc said.

Related: Windows, macOS Hacked at Pwn2Own 2017

Related: Pwn2Own 2017: Experts Hack Edge, Safari, Ubuntu

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