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Windows, macOS Hacked at Pwn2Own 2017

Researchers hacked Windows, macOS, Firefox, Edge, Safari and Flash Player on the second day of the Pwn2Own 2017 competition taking place these days alongside the CanSecWest conference in Vancouver, Canada.

On the first day, participants successfully demonstrated exploits against Edge, Safari, Ubuntu and Adobe Reader, taking home over $230,000 of the $1 million prize pool. On the second day, white hat hackers earned $340,000 for their exploits.

Adobe Flash Player was successfully targeted by both Qihoo360’s 360 Security team and Tencent’s Team Sniper, each earning $40,000 for their exploits. 360 Security used four bugs, while Team Sniper leveraged two use-after-free vulnerabilities.

The Qihoo360 team also managed to break Apple’s macOS operating system, earning $10,000 for a privilege escalation that involved an information disclosure flaw and a race condition in the kernel. The same amount was earned by the Chaitin Security Research Lab team, which elevated privileges on macOS via an information disclosure bug and an out-of-bounds in the kernel.

360 Security also earned $35,000 for hacking Apple’s Safari browser and escalating privileges to root on macOS. Team Sniper was paid the same amount for an exploit chain that achieved the same goal.

The Windows operating system was hacked by both 360 Security and Team Sniper, each taking home $15,000 for exploits that involved out-of-bounds and integer overflow vulnerabilities in the kernel.

Microsoft’s Edge browser was successfully targeted on the second day of Pwn2Own 2017 by two groups from Tencent: Team Sniper and Sword Team. They each received $55,000 for disclosing their exploits.

Mozilla Firefox was hacked by the Chaitin Security team via an integer overflow in the browser and an uninitialized buffer weakness in the Windows kernel for privilege escalation. Moritz Jodeit of Blue Frost Security also targeted Firefox, but failed to complete the exploit chain in the allocated timeframe.

Some of the Tencent teams – the Chinese firm had four teams in the competition – withdrew their entries or were disqualified for not using zero-day vulnerabilities.

Due to the unprecedented number of contestants and entries, some of the exploits will be demonstrated on the third day of the event, when participants will take a crack at Edge, including with a VM escape, and VMware Workstation. Depending on the results, the total amount paid out this year could exceed $800,000, nearly double compared to Pwn2Own 2016

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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.