Security Market Segment LS
Monday, 21 March 2016 12:03

Microsoft and Apple get a whupping in Pwn2Own 2016

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The annual Pwn2Own security-busting competition took place last week, revealing a total of 20 new vulnerabilities.

Run alongside the CanSecWest security conference, Pwn2Own gives security researchers a chance to demonstrate their chops and to win cash and other prizes.

iTWire previously reported the results of the first day of competition, which saw five successful attacks using vulnerabilities in Safari, Flash and Chrome.

By the end of day two, 20 new vulnerabilities had been found: six in Windows and two in Edge, giving a total of eight in Microsoft software; five in OS X and three in Safari, for a total of eight; and four in Flash. A vulnerability used against Chrome had already been reported.

According to Pwn2Own co-sponsor Trend Micro, "the real, important, technical story is about the state of kernel security. EVERY successful attack achieved SYSTEM or root privileges. This is a Pwn2Own first. It’s also a very worrying development."

(Trend Micro recently acquired HP Enterprise's TippingPoint security operation.)

So whether you favour Windows or OS X, you'd be mistaken if you think the vendor has security under control.

But at least these 20 new vulnerabilities were discovered by people who were prepared to disclose them to the vendors concerned. TippingPoint customers will also receive protection against these vulnerabilities from 22 March.


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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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