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As in years past, the latest patched versions of the most popular web browsers around stood little chance against those competing in the annual Pwn2Own hacking competition. The usual suspects – Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Internet Explorer – all went down during the two-day competition, earning researchers a collective total of $557,500 in prize money.
The event, which took place at the CanSecWest conference in Vancouver, was sponsored by the Hewlett-Packard Zero Day Initiative. During the first day, HP awarded $317,500 to researchers that exploited flaws in Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader, Internet Explorer and Firefox.
eWeek notes that the first reward, paid to a hacker by the name of ilxu1a, was for an out-of-bounds memory vulnerability in Firefox. It took less than a second to execute which earned him a cool $15,000.
Firefox was exploited twice during the event. Daniel Veditz, principal security engineer at Mozilla, said the foundation was on hand during the event to get the bug details from HP. Engineers are already working on a fix back at home, he added, that could be ready as early as today.
Another security researcher, JungHoon Lee, managed to demonstrate exploits against Chrome, IE 11 and Safari. As you can imagine, he walked away with quite a bit of money: $75,000 for the Chrome bug, $65,000 for IE and $50,000 for the Safari vulnerability. He also received two bonuses totaling $35,000.