March 2, 2024

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Toronto Pwn2Own hacking contest awards over $980,000 to bug hunters

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Toronto Pwn2Own hacking contest awards over $980,000 to bug hunters

Security researchers picked up US$989,750 in prizes for demonstrating 63 unique zero day vulnerabilities in consumer and small office products during the four-day Toronto edition of the Pwn2Own hacking contest.

The biggest bundle of cash went to a team from Devcore Security Consulting of Taiwan, which won US$142,500. As a result it was named the event’s Master of Pwn.

 

Graphic listing winning teams in the Toronto Pwn2Own 2022 contest
Top team winners and scores. Source: Trend Micro

It was the first time the contest, run under Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative, was held in Toronto. Teams or individuals competed either live at Trend Micro’s Toronto office or online. Each entrant had three tries of five minutes each to show that an exploit they have created can break into fully-patched devices that IT hardware and software manufacturers believe are secure.

Run three times a year since 2007, there is always a contest in Vancouver. Other cities that have hosted contests include Miami and Tokyo.

The Toronto event focused on small office/home office (SOHO) devices, including routers, printers, network attached storage (NAS) devices and a Samsung smartphone.

These devices were chosen because, thanks to the pandemic, more employees are working from home than ever. However, Trend Micro notes, that can expand the corporate attack surface if home devices aren’t properly secured.

Not only were entrants challenged to hack into individual devices, the Toronto contest included a “SOHO Smashup” category that challenged hackers to exploit a Wi-Fi router and  a connected device. If contestants were able to take complete control of both devices within 30 minutes, they could earn US$100,000 and 10 Master of Pwn points.

In April, participants at the Miami event won US$400,000 for demonstrating 26 exploits and bug collisions. In May, Vancouver participants won US$1.15 million for showing 25 unique zero day exploits.

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