Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 19th Mar 2009 06:44 UTC, submitted by Moulinneuf
Privacy, Security, Encryption As he had already predicted, cracker Charlie Miller has won the PWN2OWN contest by cracking Safari and Mac OS X within seconds of the start of the competition. "It took a couple of seconds. They clicked on the link and I took control of the machine," Miller said after his accomplishment. He took home the USD 10000 prize, as well as the MacBook he performed the exploit on. Internet Explorer 8 fell a while later by cracker Nils, who also cracked Safari and Firefox after being done with IE8.
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RE[2]: Comment by Hakime
by JonathanBThompson on Thu 19th Mar 2009 09:38 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Hakime"
JonathanBThompson
Member since:
2006-05-26

Thom, your reading comprehension is too low to catch this fact mentioned in the article:

He went out of his way to test the exploit before the contest to make sure it would work every time.


In other words, he did not pwn Safari on the spur of the moment in a few seconds! He went to the contest with a known-good exploit that was well-tested long before he ever walked in the door.

That being said, I'd truly love to know exactly what control over the machine he had as a result of that, as the ZDNet article is rather vague beyond stating that. I'm imagining that unless he got the user to enter their password, it wasn't quite as "total" as stated: if you can't enter the password for certain things, or do something to configure things such that you don't need it, it isn't truly total control over the machine, but it can still at least be very damaging to that user's accounts.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by Hakime
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 19th Mar 2009 09:45 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Hakime"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

In other words, he did not pwn Safari on the spur of the moment in a few seconds! He went to the contest with a known-good exploit that was well-tested long before he ever walked in the door.


I know.

Read what I wrote: "cracker Charlie Miller has won the PWN2OWN contest by cracking Safari and Mac OS X within seconds of the start of the competition."

And that's 100% accurate, exploit in hand or not.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[4]: Comment by Hakime
by majipoor on Thu 19th Mar 2009 10:42 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Hakime"
majipoor Member since:
2009-01-22

You can lie by telling something which is wrong, but also by filtering the facts. And you are not the messenger: you have written the article.

Reply Parent Score: -1

RE[4]: Comment by Hakime
by Soulbender on Thu 19th Mar 2009 11:45 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Hakime"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Dude, it is obviously deceiving. What it sounds like is that he came unprepared and figured out how to crack Safari in seconds while in fact he had prepared the exploit beforehand.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: Comment by Hakime
by Soulbender on Thu 19th Mar 2009 11:40 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Hakime"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

He went out of his way to test the exploit before the contest to make sure it would work every time.


Well, it's quite possible the other guys had also prepared for the browsers they worked on.

That being said, I'd truly love to know exactly what control over the machine he had as a result of that, as the ZDNet article is rather vague beyond stating that.


Yeah, I was also wondering how he got control over the machine from the browser. Running code, sure, but that would still only be under the user account.
Then again, having "root" isn't what most malware is interested in anyway.

but it can still at least be very damaging to that user's accounts.


Aside from not being able to change system files and configurations it can still be quite damaging. You can still run botnets from a user account, for example.

Edited 2009-03-19 11:42 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[4]: Comment by Hakime
by sakeniwefu on Thu 19th Mar 2009 15:27 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Hakime"
sakeniwefu Member since:
2008-02-26


Well, it's quite possible the other guys had also prepared for the browsers they worked on.


All of them had. The ones that didn't win didn't have any good exploit or had one but a recent patch had fixed it.

Nobody can find and exploit a bug in minutes, or even hours unless the bug is very noobish and can be found easily.

It's not 1983 anymore.

I am sincerely surprised by IE8/Win7 both falling. While IE8 was bound to be broken as any other browser, I thought IE in windows Vista+ ran in sandbox mode, or is that something you have to enable?

Maybe the sandbox isn't sandproof?

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by Hakime
by Michael on Thu 19th Mar 2009 14:36 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Hakime"
Michael Member since:
2005-07-01

He went to the contest with a known-good exploit that was well-tested long before he ever walked in the door.

As is stated in the first sentence of the summary. This story has been covered here before so I guess Thom's just assuming we're all familiar with the facts (and it sounds like we are).

I think this competition is more about encouraging white hat hacking than exposing security flaws. So no point bickering about the results - they only prove that Charlie Miller knows his stuff.

Reply Parent Score: 4