Each year, the Zero Day Initiative hosts a “Pwn2Own” hacking contest where security researchers can earn money for finding serious vulnerabilities in major platforms like Windows and macOS.
This 2021 Pwn2Own virtual event kicked off earlier this week and featured 23 separate hacking attempts across 10 different products including web browsers, virtualization, servers, and more. A three-day affair that spans multiple hours a day, this year’s Pwn2Own event was livestreamed on YouTube.
Apple products were not heavily targeted in Pwn2Own 2021, but on day one, Jack Dates from RET2 Systems executed a Safari to kernel zero-day exploit and earned himself $100,000. He used an integer overflow in Safari and an OOB write to get kernel-level code execution, as demoed in the tweet below.
Other hacking attempts during the Pwn2Own event targeted Microsoft Exchange, Parallels, Windows 10, Microsoft Teams, Ubuntu, Oracle VirtualBox, Zoom, Google Chrome, and Microsoft Edge.
A serious Zoom flaw was demonstrated by Dutch researchers Daan Keuper and Thijs Alkemade, for example. The duo exploited a trio of flaws to get total control of a target PC using the Zoom app with no user interaction.
Pwn2Own participants received more than $1.2 million in rewards for the bugs they discovered. Pwn2Own gives vendors like Apple 90 days to produce a fix for the vulnerabilities that are uncovered, so we can expect the bug to be addressed in an update in the not too distant future.