CONFERENCE On Demand: Cyber AI & Automation Summit - Watch Now
Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Mobile & Wireless

Researchers Earn $100,000 for Hacking Pixel Phone

A team of researchers has earned more than $100,000 from Google for an Android exploit chain that can be used to hack the company’s Pixel phone remotely simply by getting the targeted user to access a malicious website.

A team of researchers has earned more than $100,000 from Google for an Android exploit chain that can be used to hack the company’s Pixel phone remotely simply by getting the targeted user to access a malicious website.

Google’s Pixel phone was the only device that was not hacked at last year’s Mobile Pwn2Own competition. However, researcher Guang Gong of Chinese security firm Qihoo 360 and his team did manage to find a couple of vulnerabilities that can be chained for a remote code injection exploit that works against Pixel and other Android smartphones.

The exploit relies on two vulnerabilities: CVE-2017-5116 and CVE-2017-14904. The former is a type confusion flaw in the V8 open-source JavaScript engine and it can be exploited for remote code execution in a sandboxed Chrome render process. Google patched this security hole in September with the release of Chrome 61.

The second vulnerability affects Android’s libgralloc module and it can be exploited to escape the Chrome sandbox. This privilege escalation flaw was patched by Google in December with its monthly Android updates.

Combining the two vulnerabilities allows an attacker to inject arbitrary code into the system_server process by getting the targeted user to access a malicious URL in Chrome.

Gong and his team earned $105,000 for the exploit chain through the Android Security Rewards (ASR) program, and an additional $7,500 through the Chrome bug bounty program. This is the highest reward in the history of the ASR program, which is not surprising considering that it has been paid out for the first remote exploit chain since the ASR program was expanded last summer.

Google announced at the time that rewards for remote exploit chains or exploits leading to TrustZone or Verified Boot compromise increased to $200,000, and bounties for remote kernel exploits increased to $150,000.

Gong has published a guest post on Google’s security and Android developers blogs detailing both vulnerabilities and how the exploit chain works.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Related: Vulnerability Allows Modification of Signed Android Apps

Related: Android Development Tools Riddled with Nasty Vulnerabilities

Related: Google Discloses Details of $100,000 Chrome OS Flaws

Written By

Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a managing 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.

Click to comment

Daily Briefing Newsletter

Subscribe to the SecurityWeek Email Briefing to stay informed on the latest threats, trends, and technology, along with insightful columns from industry experts.

Join us as we delve into the transformative potential of AI, predictive ChatGPT-like tools and automation to detect and defend against cyberattacks.


As cybersecurity breaches and incidents escalate, the cyber insurance ecosystem is undergoing rapid and transformational change.


Expert Insights

Related Content


Less than a week after announcing that it would suspended service indefinitely due to a conflict with an (at the time) unnamed security researcher...

Data Breaches

OpenAI has confirmed a ChatGPT data breach on the same day a security firm reported seeing the use of a component affected by an...

Risk Management

The supply chain threat is directly linked to attack surface management, but the supply chain must be known and understood before it can be...

IoT Security

A group of seven security researchers have discovered numerous vulnerabilities in vehicles from 16 car makers, including bugs that allowed them to control car...


A researcher at IOActive discovered that home security systems from SimpliSafe are plagued by a vulnerability that allows tech savvy burglars to remotely disable...


Patch Tuesday: Microsoft calls attention to a series of zero-day remote code execution attacks hitting its Office productivity suite.


Patch Tuesday: Microsoft warns vulnerability (CVE-2023-23397) could lead to exploitation before an email is viewed in the Preview Pane.


The latest Chrome update brings patches for eight vulnerabilities, including seven reported by external researchers.