Google’s Pwnium 4 Hacking Contest Will Pay Out Over $2.7 Million In Rewards Money. Company will also pay $150,000 for providing an exploit to be able to persistently compromise an HP or Acer Chromebook, i.e. hacking the device to retain control even after a reboot.
Google capped the total up for grabs at $2.71828 million, giving multiple researchers a chance at prize money. The “2.71828” comes from a mathematical constant that is the base of the natural logarithm.
Pwnium began as Google’s answer to Pwn2Own, the well-known hacking contest that has attracted some of the top researchers in the industry over the course of the last few years, including Dino Dai Zovi, Charlie Miller, Chaouki Bekrar and the Vupen team and many others. Pwn2Own has traditionally not required contestants to submit complete exploit information, but rather the details of the vulnerability and the crash data. Pwnium requires researchers to submit full exploits, something that has kept some of the potential contestants away, notably the Vupen team.
Last year Google put $3.14159 million in the pot — another nod to mathematics, as those are the first six digits of the value of Pi — but paid out just $40,000 to a prolific hacker who goes by “Pinkie Pie,” the contest’s sole participant, for what Google later called a partial exploit.
Google said it would consider larger bonuses this year to researchers who demonstrated what it called a “particularly impressive or surprising exploit”.
“New this year, we will also consider significant bonuses for demonstrating a particularly impressive or surprising exploit. Potential examples include defeating kASLR, exploiting memory corruption in the 64-bit browser process or exploiting the kernel directly from a renderer process,” it said.
Pwnium 4 will take place March 12 at CanSecWest, the Vancouver, British Columbia, security conference known for another hacking contest, Pwn2Own, which last year was co-sponsored by HP’s Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) bug bounty program and Google. HP has not yet announced the details of its 2014 challenge.
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