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3/19/2009
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Safari Hacked... Followed By IE And Firefox

Last year's winner of the CanSecWest security conference's Pwn2Own contest repeats his success in record time.

Just like last year, a Mac running Safari was the first to fall. Then Microsoft Internet Explorer 8, just released officially on Thursday, and Firefox 3 were hacked, leaving only Google's Chrome uncompromised.

At the CanSecWest security conference's Pwn2Own contest in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Wednesday, security researcher Charlie Miller exploited an undisclosed vulnerability in Apple's Safari Web browser, running under Mac OS X. It took him less than two minutes, contest sponsor TippingPoint said, for which he was awarded $5,000, along with the MacBook he hacked. Some accounts indicate Miller's exploit took only seconds.

Miller won a MacBook Air at the 2008 Pwn2Own contest using an undisclosed vulnerability in version 3.1 of Apple's Safari browser.

The TippingPoint Zero Day Initiative offers rewards of $5,000 per browser bug and $10,000 per mobile device bug. The rules are that the first person to run a successful exploit on any of the mobile devices gets to keep that device, with a one-year phone contract. The first person to hack any of the browsers gets to keep the laptop it was running on.

Following Miller's performance, a security researcher who identified himself only as Nils ran a successful exploit against Microsoft IE8 running Windows 7 on a Sony Vaio.

As Terri Forslof, manager of security response for TippingPoint, put it in a blog post, Nils defied "Microsoft's latest built in protection technologies -- DEP (Data Execution Prevention) as well as ASLR (Address Space Layout Randomization) -- to take home the Sony Vaio and $5,000."

Nils then proceeded to hack Safari and Firefox, both under Mac OS X, earning $10,000 more in prize money.

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