Google Offers Rewards For Hacking Chrome OS At Pwnium 3

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Pwnium is the annual hacker competition where Google invites coders from around the world to find security holes in Google Chrome. That changes this year as Google wants hackers to break both of its Chromium projects.

Google announced today that Chrome will be one of the browsers hackers can take on at the annual Pwn2Own Competition. This year’s competition is hosted by HP’s Zero Day Initiative alongside Google, the latter of which will be underwriting a portion of the winnings for all targets – including non-Chromium browsers. The event will last between March 6-8 in Vancouver, BC. You can register here.

At the CanSecWest conference on March 7, Google will be hosting its own competition – the third annual Pwnium. Instead of hacking Chrome, however, Google will task hackers with breaking Chrome OS. The company will be offering rewards in the following categories with up to $3.14 million in prize money up for grabs:

  • $110,000: browser or system level compromise in guest mode or as a logged-in user, delivered via a web page.
  • $150,000: compromise with device persistence — guest to guest with interim reboot, delivered via a web page.

Hackers attempting these challenges will have to use a base Wi-Fi model of the Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook. You are allowed to use any installed software, including the kernel and drivers. You can also use a virtual machine if you do not have the required hardware.

Last year’s big winner was a teenage hacker who went by the alias of Pinkie Pie. It’s unknown if he will be bringing his skills back to Pwnium 3 to take on the much more difficult task of cracking Chrome OS. Either way, it’s going to be interesting to see if anybody can crack Chrome OS.

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Zach Walton is a Writer for WebProNews. He specializes in gaming and technology. Google+