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8/13/2019
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Jai Vijayan
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2019 Pwnie Award Winners (And Those Who Wish They Weren't)

This year's round-up includes awards into two new categories: most under-hyped research and epic achievement.
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Best Server-Side Bug

The Pwnie for discovering the most technically sophisticated and interesting bug in server software - including any software that is remotely accessible without user interaction - went to the colorfully nicknamed Orange Tsai (Cheng-Da Tsai) and his colleague Meh Chang, both researchers at DEVCORE.

Orange and Meh got the nod for uncovering multiple critical vulnerabilities - some remotely exploitable - in SSL VPN vendor Pulse Secure's Pulse Connect Secure (PCS) and Pulse Policy Secure (PPS) products. The technologies are widely deployed in enterprises around the world. The bugs basically gave attackers a way to install malware, hijack sessions, and gain root access on vulnerable devices.
Tsai and Chang were nominated for breaking into other SSL VPNs as well, prompting the judges to declare: 'For the purposes of voting, we think you should just take this as 'Orange Tsai and Meh Chang broke most of the SSL VPNs.''
Others nominations in this category included Exim RCE, a non-memory-corruption remote code execution flaw in C code; a preauthorization UAF flaw in Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol services; and a WordPress path traversal issue.
Image Source: Orange Tsai and Meh Chang

Best Server-Side Bug

The Pwnie for discovering the most technically sophisticated and interesting bug in server software including any software that is remotely accessible without user interaction went to the colorfully nicknamed Orange Tsai (Cheng-Da Tsai) and his colleague Meh Chang, both researchers at DEVCORE.

Orange and Meh got the nod for uncovering multiple critical vulnerabilities some remotely exploitable in SSL VPN vendor Pulse Secure's Pulse Connect Secure (PCS) and Pulse Policy Secure (PPS) products. The technologies are widely deployed in enterprises around the world. The bugs basically gave attackers a way to install malware, hijack sessions, and gain root access on vulnerable devices.

Tsai and Chang were nominated for breaking into other SSL VPNs as well, prompting the judges to declare: "For the purposes of voting, we think you should just take this as 'Orange Tsai and Meh Chang broke most of the SSL VPNs.'"

Others nominations in this category included Exim RCE, a non-memory-corruption remote code execution flaw in C code; a preauthorization UAF flaw in Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol services; and a WordPress path traversal issue.

Image Source: Orange Tsai and Meh Chang

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