Google is very confident that their web browser, Chrome, cannot be hacked and is willing to shell out $20,000 cash as well as a Chrome CR-48 notebook to the first person who can prove they can crack their system. The competition is held as part of the fifth annual Pwn2Own hacking competition which will be held next month on March 9 at the CanSacWest security conference in Vancouver, Canada.
Cracking the Chrome browser will be very difficult because it uses a security mechanism called a “sandbox.” This security feature basically isolates system processes and provides a segregated tightly-controlled set of resources for guest programs or scripts to run on so that they are unable to impact the core browser. This makes the ability to inspect the host system either not allowed or heavily restricted. This means that to crack Chrome, you must crack the sandbox first and exploit the code it itself executed.
The $20,000 reward that Google is offering at the annual Pwn2Own contest is the largest ever offered. Perhaps this show of audacity is due to the fact that their web browser, Chrome, has remained unscathed in the past 2 years, which, unlike Safari, Internet Explorer, and Firefox who have had their fair share of attacks at the Pwn2Own contest. Maybe this year, the $20,000 pot is sufficient enough into motivating hackers to crack Chrome’s protective shell.
Along with Google Chrome at the Pwn2Own are Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Apple’s Safari Browser, and Mozilla’s Firefox with which contenders can also try to hack. The latter three have offered $15,000 dollars on whoever can first successfully hack their web browsers.
Registration for the contest is up until February 15, 2011 only. For more information and instructions regarding this contest, kindly visit the Tipping Point website.
What do you think?