Google's Chrome Web Browser Has Security Flaws Exploited in Vancouver Hacking Contest

by Knowlton Thomas

At a Vancouver information technology conference this week, Google's Chrome web browser took some lumps and bruises. During this year's CanSecWest Vancouver, Pwn2Own competitors attempted to expose security flaws in Google Chrome as part of a hacking competition turned annual tradition—and they did.

Hackers exploited previously unknown security flaws for the first time in a Pwn2Own competition. Vupen Security performed the deed within five minutes of the contest starting.

During the contest, which is in its fifth year, the team at Vupen created a webpage that could be visited on a fully up-to-date Windows operating system running a fully up-to-date Chrome browser—and effectively bypass all security protections to execute a command on the user's computer. While the competition is all in good fun, not all hackers are exactly altruistic, so users should never overestimate their computer's security, as this contest clearly demonstrates.

And in a Google-sponsored "Pwnium" contest, not associated with CanSecWest, Sergey Glazunov also performed a full Chrome exploit—and pocketed a cool $60,000 from Google for it too. Google called the exploits "exciting," as they are evidence of the skill of hackers—but also allow the company to beef up Chrome security afterward.

Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. As a first step to fulfilling that mission, Google's founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin developed a new approach to online search that took root in a Stanford University dorm room and quickly spread to information seekers around the globe. Google is now widely recognized as the world's... more

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Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton is the managing editor of Techvibes and author of Tempest Bound. Based in Vancouver, Knowlton has been published in national publications and has also appeared on television and radio. Previously he was an editor for New Westminster weekly The Other Press and served on its board of directors. When not working, Knowlton enjoys hiking, tennis, and martial arts. more

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