There’s plenty of hackers out there all over the world trying to crack big software companies like Google and Microsoft’s programs. Many of them fail, after all these software companies are amongst the wealthiest in the world and have invested incredible amounts of money into securing their programs. However from time to time, a new exploit rears its head before the companies can discover it. This isn’t great for the companies image, let alone for the consumer who is using their software.
So to try and avoid embarrassing situations like this from ever occurring in the first place, Google have being holding their very own compeition for hackers. The Pwnium contest invites security researchers to try and hack into the Chrome web browser. This week, Sergey Glazunov became the first researcher to be awarded the top prize of $60,000 for demonstrating a “full Chrome exploit” in a Chrome browser running on an up to date Windows 7 system.
The Pwnium contest has a prize pool of $1 million and is a much cheaper alternative for Google to find exploits in its programs instead of paying its employees to spend hours trying to find exploits. It also means that Google will know about the exploits before they go public so they’ll have a chance to fix them and preserve their public image.
Of course since this exploit has been discovered, Google have been hard at work to get a fix out as soon as possible. They’ve already pushed out a patch via their auto-update feature for Chrome. Version 17.0.963.78 for Windows,Mac OS X and Linux fixes this flaw as well as fixing a few issues with Adobe Flash.
So although Glazunov is lucky enough to be receiving the top price of $60,000, there is still an incredible $940,000 up for grabs in Google’s Pwnium competition.