Pwn2Own Hacking Contest Returns as Joint HPE-Trend Micro Effort
Over a half million dollars in prize money is up for grabs as the Zero Day Initiative browser hacking contest continues even as corporate ownership shifts.The annual Pwn2Own browser hacking competition that takes place at the CanSecWest conference is one of the premier security events in any given year, as security researchers attempt to demonstrate in real time zero-day exploits against modern Web browsers. This year there was initial concern that the event wouldn't happen, as the Zero Day Initiative (ZDI), which is the primary sponsor of Pwn2Own, is currently in a state of transition. ZDI currently is part of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), but that will change this year, as the TippingPoint division of HPE, which includes ZDI, is being sold to security vendor Trend Micro in a deal first announced in October 2015 for $300 million. Since ZDI is in transition, HPE and Trend Micro will jointly sponsor the 2016 Pwn2Own event taking place March 16-17. "Bringing both HPE and Trend Micro together for Pwn2Own has been a lot of fun," Brian Gorenc, manager of Vulnerability Research at HPE, told eWEEK. Since Trend Micro's acquisition of TippingPoint has not yet officially closed, it was determined that the best course of action was to do a joint sponsorship of the event, Gorenc said. As such, no matter who owns TippingPoint when the Pwn2Own contest starts, both Trend Micro and HPE will have an interest in what's going on at the event.
At the 2015 event, HP awarded a total of $557,500 in prize money to researchers for exploiting previously unknown vulnerabilities in Web browsers. The prize pool for the 2016 event will be in the same range, though at this point it's not entirely clear which vendor will pay for the prizes.