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ZDI Announces Rules, Prizes for Pwn2Own Tokyo 2020

Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) on Tuesday announced the rules and prizes for its Pwn2Own Tokyo 2020 hacking competition, which invites white hat hackers to demonstrate their smartphone and IoT device exploits.

Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) on Tuesday announced the rules and prizes for its Pwn2Own Tokyo 2020 hacking competition, which invites white hat hackers to demonstrate their smartphone and IoT device exploits.

Pwn2Own Tokyo 2020 will take place on November 3-5 and it will coincide with the PacSec conference, which typically takes place in Tokyo that time of year. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, PacSec has been turned into a virtual event.

In the case of Pwn2Own Tokyo, the event will actually be held in Toronto, Canada, but interested researchers have been given the option to participate remotely. Participants will need to submit a whitepaper detailing their exploit chain and instructions for running the exploit, which will be run by a ZDI staff member in Toronto. However, this will prevent participants from making changes to their exploits or scripts on the spot, which ZDI says could lower their chances of winning if an unexpected problem occurs.

Pwn2Own Tokyo 2020 focuses on exploits aimed at smartphones, including the Google Pixel 4, Samsung Galaxy S20, Huawei P40, Apple’s iPhone 11, and the Xiaomi Mi 10.

Participants can earn up to $160,000 for hacking the iPhone 11 or Pixel 4 via a web browser, if their exploits are executed with kernel privileges and the payload can survive a reboot of the device. Roughly the same prizes and bonuses are offered for conducting a successful attack via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or NFC.

Pwn2Own Tokyo 2020

Pwn2Own Tokyo 2020 also covers wearables. Hackers can earn $60,000 for achieving remote code execution on Facebook’s Oculus Quest VR headset and $80,000 for remote code execution on the 5th series Apple Watch.

In the home automation category, researchers can receive between $40,000 and $60,000 for exploits targeting Facebook Portal, Amazon Echo Show 8, the Sonos One speaker, the Google Nest Hub and cameras from Nest, Ring and Arlo.

Exploits targeting smart TVs from Sony and Samsung, network-attached storage (NAS) devices from Synology and Western Digital, and routers from NETGEAR and TP-Link are worth up to $20,000.

The total prize pool this year is over $500,000. At last year’s Pwn2Own Tokyo, participants earned a total of $315,000 for disclosing 18 different vulnerabilities.

Additional details and the complete rules for Pwn2Own Tokyo 2020 are available on ZDI’s website.

Related: Researchers Earn $280,000 for Hacking Industrial Systems at Pwn2Own Miami

Related: Oracle VirtualBox, Adobe Reader, Windows Hacked at Pwn2Own 2020

Related: Researchers Hack Windows, Ubuntu, macOS at Pwn2Own 2020

Written By

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.

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