Friday, March 20, 2009

Pwn2Own Browsers Hacked: IE 8, "Safari" and "Firefox"

This time of year is now one of traditional contention. It's time for Pwn2Own at CanSecWest. It is a fun contest held among security experts to crack the chosen subjects for each year. This year a selection of web browsers was used.

Of course after the contest there is lots of snickering and gossip. But for better or worse, what exactly happened at the contest is rarely revealed, meaning that the specific cracks used are not allowed to be published so they can be provided to the programmers of the cracked software for consideration and patching.

Questionable aspect of this year's contest: Windows 7ista was used in PC testing. It's in beta.

Losers so far this year:

1) "Safari" for Mac. I use quotes as I have not been able to find what version was used. Presumably it is the latest public release, and not the version 4 beta. It was cracked within 2 minutes. How cracked? Unstated. My speculation: That hell hole known as "JavaScript" which these days includes JScript, a holey mess perpetrated by Microsoft. Apple have consistently had JavaScript security problems, starting with QuickTime in 2006 over at MySpace.

2) "Firefox". Again I use quotes as I have not found the version number. Neither do I know which platform, which may well mean both Mac and PC. How cracked? Unstated.

3) Internet Explorer 8.0. This browser was JUST released. Oops. It should have stayed in beta. Again, specifics of the crack have not been made public.

For further details, keep an eye on the Security Watch blog at PC Magazine and the TippingPoint DVLabs blog. You can also follow TippingPoint's Twittering. The contest will conclude later today (Friday, 2009-03-20).

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