Menu
Pwn2Own contest puts US$75,000 bounty on VMware Workstation bypass

Pwn2Own contest puts US$75,000 bounty on VMware Workstation bypass

Bad timing for users after VMware laid off Workstation developers in January

The Pwn2Own hacking contest will return in March, pitting researchers against the most popular browsers and operating systems. The novelty: Contestants can win a US$75,00 prize for escaping a VMware virtual machine.

Contestants will be able to exploit Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome on fully patched versions of 64-bit Windows 10 and Apple Safari on OS X El Capitan. System or root-level privilege escalation pays extra, as does escaping from the virtual machine.

Every year, Pwn2Own, at the CanSecWest security conference, has slightly modified rules, and 2016 is no different. Adobe Reader, Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer are no longer on the contest's target list. Adobe Flash remains, but only the version that comes bundled with Microsoft Edge.

Exploiting Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge will earn hackers $65,000, while exploiting Apple Safari on Mac only $40,000. Achieving system-level access on Windows or root access on Mac OS X would add another $20,000 to the final payout.

The significant prize differences between Chrome, Edge and Safari exploits might stem from protections on Windows offered by the Microsoft Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET).

EMET is a tool, primarily aimed at businesses, that applies various exploit mitigation technologies to applications that otherwise lack them. This adds additional complexity and significant hurdles for exploit developers.

On top of that, the Windows environment will run as a guest OS in a virtual machine created with VMware Workstation. Breaking out of the virtual machine is not mandatory, but those who do so will earn an additional $75,000.

Potential vulnerabilities in Workstation would not be good news for VMware, which laid off most of its developers working on the product in January. The company said at the time that its computing virtualization products like Workstation and Fusion have reached maturity and will play a decreasing role in its business.

Pwn2Own has been historically organized by security appliance maker TippingPoint, a division of Hewlett Packard that also runs the Zero Day Initiative, a vulnerability acquisition program. However, because Trend Micro entered into an agreement to acquire TippingPoint in October, this year's Pwn2Own will be sponsored by both Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Trend Micro.


Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Featured

Slideshows

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

The channel came together for another round of After Hours, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and partners descending on The Jefferson in Auckland. Photos by Maria Stefina.​

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours
Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Emerging start-up Consegna has officially launched its cloud offerings in the New Zealand market, through a kick-off event held at Seafarers Building in Auckland.​ Founded in June 2016, the Auckland-based business is backed by AWS and supported by a global team of cloud specialists, leveraging global managed services partnerships with Rackspace locally.

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland
Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners

Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners

Veritas honoured its top performing partners across the channel in Australia and New Zealand, recognising innovation and excellence on both sides of the Tasman. Revealed under the Vivid lights in Sydney, Intalock claimed the coveted Partner of the Year 2017 (Pacific) award, with Data#3 acknowledged for 12 months of strong growth across the market. Meanwhile, Datacom took home the New Zealand honours, with Global Storage and Insentra winning service provider and consulting awards respectively. Dicker Data was recognised as the standout distributor of the year, while Hitachi Data Systems claimed the alliance partner award. Photos by Bob Seary.

Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners
Show Comments