Every year, Google brings together somewhat of a hackathon where hackers are invited to find security exploits in Google’s products, typically its browser and the Chrome OS. While in the past years, hackers have been able to find significant exploits, this year’s Pwnium 3 event didn’t yield any winning entry.
It is worth-noting that in the previous Pwnium events, hackers have been able to dig frequent exploits in Google’s Chrome browser. However, this year, the event’s chief focus was on Google’s Chrome OS. The prize money that Google had put up for the competition was $3.14159 million.
While that was the total prize money up for taking, the individual handouts were much lower – $110,000 were being offered to someone who could find a system level compromise while using Chrome OS in the guest-mode or as a logged-in user and the compromise had to be delivered through a web page.
The prize for the second category was $150,000 in which a hacker had to find a compromise with device persistence, so that it could be utilized guest to guest via interim reboot and again, the compromise had to be delivered through a web page.
Apparently, no hacker was able to find a full exploit in either of these categories, which shows that Google has significantly improved its OS over the last year. However, the company did state that it would be sorting the entries and dishing out partial credit to incomplete entries.
Remarking about the Pwnium 3 event, a Google spokesperson said, “Pwnium 3 has completed and we did not receive any winning entries. We are evaluating some work that may qualify as partial credit. Working with the security community is one of the best ways we know to keep our users safe, so we’re grateful to the researchers who take the time to help us in these efforts.”