MacBooks survive day one in hacker jungle

Summary:Two tricked-out MacBook laptops survived the first day of a 'PWN to OWN' contest that dared hackers to take control of default Mac OS X installations.

VANCOUVER, BC --  Two tricked-out MacBook laptops have survived the first day of a 'PWN to OWN' contest that dared hackers to take control of default Mac OS X installations.

MacBooks pwn to own

The contest started around midday Friday Thursday, the second day of the CanSecWest conference here and triggered interest from hackers in attendance but it was not immediately clear just how many attempts were being made to break into the machines.

Organizers say they have seen "some activity" on the network set up with the two new MacBooks -- a 17" and a 15" -- but details remained scarce when the day ended.  According to a report, Tipping Point's Zero Day Initiative has added a $10,000 bounty to the first hacker who launches a successful attack with a new, yet-to-be-patched vulnerability.

The two laptops have been set up on a special access point and the successful hacker must gain admin level access on the 17" machine to qualify for the prize.  To win, the attacker must commandeer the machine and find a file with instructions on how to SSH to a server to authenticate the hijack.

On the second day, the barrier will be lowered a bit and the attackers will be allowed to put exploit code on a special wiki and launch drive-by exploits on the Mac's built-in Safari browser.  If the machines survive this level, the attacker will be allowed to connect to over USB or Bluetooth.

Topics: Security, Apple, Hardware


Ryan Naraine is a journalist and social media enthusiast specializing in Internet and computer security issues. He is currently security evangelist at Kaspersky Lab, an anti-malware company with operations around the globe. He is taking a leadership role in developing the company's online community initiative around secure content managem... Full Bio

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