The Keen, a top hacking team which took down Windows 8.1. Adobe Flash in just 15 seconds and Apple’s Safari Mac OS X Mavericks system in only 20 seconds during a Pwn2Own Vancouver event in March, has divulged the identity of its members, a Chinese newspaper reported on 13 April 2014.
“50 percent of us are the top scoring students in the national college entrance examination. 50 percent are majored in mathematics, and 50 percent are from Microsoft,” said Lv Yiping, key member of the Keen and co-founder and chief operating officer of the team’s Shanghai-based parent company.
The team’s primary attacker Chen Liang, who holds an undergraduate degree from Shanghai Jiao Tong University and a graduate degree from Fudan University, said he had to lock himself up in a rented room for two months to keep away from all kinds of distractions and solely focused on the hundreds of millions of lines of code for an operating system.
Chen finally spotted the vulnerability on the night of 1 March, two weeks before the event. He described the feeling at that moment as like “winning the million-dollar lottery”. The preparation helped him breach both Windows 8.1. Adobe Flash and Apple’s Safari Mac OS X Mavericks during Pwn2Own, an event funded by Microsoft, Google, Apple, and other global security solution providers.
Although widely referred to in the media as “hackers”, Chen, Lv, and his team members prefer not to be called so. “If you don’t know where the attacks are coming from, how can you better defend yourself,” noted Lv. “Our research on hacking is to better safeguard the system.”