Google invites you to hack Chrome OS

Google is moving forward with Chrome, both the web browser and the operating system, quickly and seems to be gaining traction. Sure, the browser is popular, but the OS struggled early on, but new notebooks, err...Chromebooks, have been getting a lot of attention, including TV ads in the United States.

However, the search giant has learned that security is pretty important to the end-user, and probably more so to those looking at these computers, because buyers probably tend to be more on the "techie" side. That is why Google has annually invited people to "hack" Chrome in an effort to find and fix flaws.

Today the Mountain View, Calf.-based company announced this year's "hackathon", titled "Pwnium 3". Hackers and security researchers are invited to attend the CanSecWest conference and take their best shots.

Chris Evans of the Google security team announces today that the "attack must be demonstrated against a base (WiFi) model of the Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook, running the latest stable version of Chrome OS. Any installed software (including the kernel and drivers, etc.) may be used to attempt the attack".

So, why would you be inclined to try this, aside from the obvious bragging rights? There are some pretty good reasons, and they involve financial gain for the successful "hack". Evans outlines those details as well.

  • $110,000: browser or system level compromise in guest mode or as a logged-in user, delivered via a web page.
  • $150,000: compromise with device persistence -- guest to guest with interim reboot, delivered via a web page.

That should be more than enough incentive to pack up your bags and fly to Vancouver, British Columbia. CanSecWest will take place March 6-8 of this year.

Photo Credit: Joe Wilcox

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