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ICS Exploits Earn Hackers $400,000 at Pwn2Own Miami 2022

ICS Pwn2Own 2022

Pwn2Own Miami 2022, a hacking contest focusing on industrial control systems (ICS), has come to an end, with contestants earning a total of $400,000 for their exploits.

The contest, organized by Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative (ZDI), saw 11 contestants demonstrating their exploits in the OPC UA Server, Control Server, Human Machine Interface, and Data Gateway categories.

Participants demonstrated a total of 26 unique zero-day exploits against products from Unified Automation, Iconics, Inductive Automation, Prosys, Aveva, Triangle MicroWorks, OPC Foundation, Kepware, and Softing.

A majority of the 32 hacking attempts were successful — two failed and eight involved previously known bugs. These “bug collisions” still earned participants $5,000 for each attempt.

The white hat hackers who attended the event earned either $20,000, typically for remote code execution vulnerabilities, or $5,000, for DoS vulnerabilities. There was only one exception. The Computest Sector 7 team earned $40,000 for successfully bypassing the trusted application check on the OPC UA .NET standard.

This was the maximum amount that Pwn2Own participants could earn for a single exploit, and Computest’s attempt involved what ZDI described as one of the most interesting bugs ever seen at Pwn2Own. In fact, the Computest team earned the most points and a total of $90,000.

In 2020, at the first edition of the ICS-themed Pwn2Own, participants earned a total of $280,000. This event was not held in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pwn2Own Miami 2022 took place between April 19 and April 21 alongside the S4x22 ICS security conference.

Related: Serious Vulnerability Exploited at Hacking Contest Impacts Over 200 HP Printers

Related: Device Exploits Earn Hackers Over $1 Million at Pwn2Own Austin 2021

Related: $1.9 Million Paid Out for Exploits at China's Tianfu Cup Hacking Contest

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.