Chrome survives first day of hacking contest; Safari and IE8 don't

Yesterday afternoon, the Pwn2Own hacking contest kicked off at the CanSecWest 2011 conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. According to ComputerWorld, Apple's freshly released Safari 5.0.4 and Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 browsers both proved easy meals, falling to the first teams who attempted to hack them.

Reportedly, folks from a French security firm called Vupen managed to break into a MacBook Air running the new version of Safari, winning both the laptop and a $15,000 prize. Meanwhile, Harmony Security founder Stephen Fewer was successful in exploiting IE8 by bypassing Microsoft's "Protected Mode."

As ComputerWorld points out in a separate story, though, Google's Chrome didn't draw any hacking attempts. Pwn2Own organizer and HP security researcher Aaron Portnoy told the site, "The first contestant was a no-show . . . And the other team wanted to work on their BlackBerry vulnerability. So it doesn't look like anyone will try Chrome."

Google had a $20,000 prize set aside for anyone who might manage to break through the browser's defenses on the first day of Pwn2Own, but the cash didn't leave Google's coffers. $10,000 is still on offer if Chrome gets hacked today or tomorrow, the last day of the contest. ComputerWorld expects Chrome to survive the contest without getting exploited. If it does, that would be a record-breaking third time in a row.

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