Touting one of the largest prizes ever seen in a hackathon event, Google has announced they will award just over $2.7 million USD at this year’s CanSecWest to anyone who can present the internet search company with “new or interesting” attack paths into its supposedly secure Chrome OS and Chromebook hardware suite.
Researchers at the event will offer $150,000 to a team who can successfully penetrate the operating system via a webpage-based attack, $110,000 to those who compromise a Chromebook from the guest user account, and “significant bonuses” to anyone else who might bring a new vector to the table that Google hadn’t already thought of prior to the conference.
Engineers will reportedly be patching the system up until the first day of CanSecWest, and unlike the last competition held in 2013, this year entrants to the nationwide call for security experts will have the option of pen-testing (penetration testing) both the Intel and ARM architectures in full.
“Past Pwnium competitions have focused on Intel-based Chrome OS devices, but this year researchers can choose between an ARM-based Chromebook, the HP Chromebook 11 (Wi-Fi), or the Acer C720 Chromebook (2GB Wi-Fi) that is based on the Intel Haswell microarchitecture.”
That outlandish number wasn’t just plucked out of the air at random of course, as it represents a rounded off version of the natural logarithm to the base e, which is just another tip in the geek culture of Google’s hat