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Chrome Google Security Upgrades News

In Under 10 Hours, Google Patches Chrome To Plug Hole Found At Its Pwnium Event 113

Posted by Soulskill
from the omg-pwnies dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Last night, Google held its Pwnium 2 competition at Hack in the Box 2012, offering up a total of $2 million for security holes found in Chrome. Only one was discovered; a young hacker who goes by the alias 'Pinkie Pie' netted the highest reward level: a $60,000 cash prize and a free Chromebook (the second time he pulled it off). Google today patched the flaw and announced a new version of Chrome for Windows, Mac, and Linux."
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In Under 10 Hours, Google Patches Chrome To Plug Hole Found At Its Pwnium Event

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  • What about Java? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by roidzrus (2739093) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @05:14PM (#41613383)
    Oracle could take a lesson from this.
    • Why? Oracle does not care about Java on the client, only about Java on the server. Why should they care about flaws in applets, it is unrelated to their business.

      • by WD (96061) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @05:29PM (#41613515)

        As soon as Oracle stops enabling a web browser plug-in with the Java installer, then your point may be valid. But as things currently are, they better damn care about vulnerabilities that affect applets! (which is the whole point of the OP)

        • Why? Describe what penalty and/or downside Oracle would face if say, hundreds of thousands of computers become part of botnets due to a flaw in the Java plugin.

          • by cbhacking (979169)

            Potential class-action lawsuit and/or government fines in countries where warranty and suitability for a purpose can't be completely disregarded? Hell, possibly even a class-action in the US, where you don't even really need the law on your side if you can simply show that an action that a company took, or failed to take, had a known risk of harm to you and did in fact result in harm?

            Or there's the risk of big and highly-visible companies (think Google) publically announcing that they're getting rid of Java

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          Frankly Java doesn't bother me as if you aren't working with the enterprise or with a few apps like GoToMyPC its easy enough to avoid, its the Adobe products that bite home users square in the ass. When you look at the combined number of bugs out there for Flash and Reader Adobe has been pretty piss poor when it comes to security yet sadly there are no replacements in sight.

          HTML V5 is frankly half ass and piss poor, it sucks CPU cycles like a drunk sucking down free drinks and without GPU acceleration is c

          • by roidzrus (2739093)

            Frankly Java doesn't bother me as if you aren't working with the enterprise or with a few apps like GoToMyPC its easy enough to avoid, its the Adobe products that bite home users square in the ass. When you look at the combined number of bugs out there for Flash and Reader Adobe has been pretty piss poor when it comes to security yet sadly there are no replacements in sight.

            HTML V5 is frankly half ass and piss poor, it sucks CPU cycles like a drunk sucking down free drinks and without GPU acceleration is completely unusable on anything low power, not to mention it doesn't even cover half the use cases of Flash, and all of the PDF readers other than Adobe end up choking on PDFs made by Adobe Acrobat thanks to all the funky features the free versions never seem to get around to implementing.

            So while I'll happily give credit to the Google team and hope their patch makes it up the Chromium branch to all the variants quickly there is plenty of other bad software out there besides Java and unlike Java a lot harder to just avoid.

            While for the current exploit, simply disabling Java from your web browser should suffice; try uninstalling it. You'll find that even the latest version of Photoshop, which doesn't even seem to have any dependency on Java, still somehow requires it to install. Matlab, Maple, and plenty of other software has Java as a dependency. I agree with you on HTML5, though. I can't even get font antialiasing to reliably work or antialiasing on any angled edge.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Billly Gates (198444)

              Java is HUGE at the office and wont go away anytime soon. People still think of Netscape java 1.2 applets running in all gray glory from last century when think of Java. What they do not see is how Bank of America, Chase, ManPower, Seibel, Kronos, and many and I mean many corporate portals use it

              It gets worse. They use Java to manipulate +Com objects through security exploits in the RMI. So a patched Java is not acceptable as it would close the hole HR needs to do the payroll so the app can talk to excel wi

              • by roidzrus (2739093)
                The only solution is to ban Java in schools and set up a government agency to monitor Java tutorials online and disable them. We may never see the fruits of this work, but maybe some day, our children's children will live in a world where no eight year old boy ever has to get exploited by a rogue Java applet.
                • Worse I taught a year or two ago. A favorite malware serving site is www.coolflashgames.com or www.coolgames.com (One of the sites). There are few that are great and a few malware ones slip in.

                  The school administrator had to impose rules on goign to that site for security reasons. Some were for edutainment so we tracked them down and they were legit. Thank God we used Macs!

                  The rest of the wintel districts still use IE 6 and have not been patched in many many years sadly.

                • I recently went back to school for some classes, and not only does one of my classes want you to install Java on your home computer, but they want you to install Real as well.
                  • by roidzrus (2739093)
                    Why Real? I didn't even think they were still in business, to be honest.
                    • Exactly. Also, Real has managed to get rid of the advertising free versions that used to be available for educational use. Luckily, I still have a corporate ad-free real client at work that I downloaded a few years ago for someone if real-alternative doesn't work.
                    • by roidzrus (2739093)
                      What were they using Real for, anyway?
                    • I'm not really sure. It could have been a false/obsolete requirement. At work, people occasionally want to listen to web casts that are in real format.
                    • by hairyfeet (841228)
                      I've run into a couple of places with that requirement and its always shitty lecture videos somebody recorded in Real format and is too fucking lazy to transcode.
          • by tlhIngan (30335)

            HTML V5 is frankly half ass and piss poor, it sucks CPU cycles like a drunk sucking down free drinks and without GPU acceleration is completely unusable on anything low power

            That's not an HTML5 problem. That's a web browser problem. If the web browsers aren't offering you enough controls to adjust how the HTML5 stuff works, find another. Or bug them to fix their Javascript speed and such.

            The main reason HTML5 is better is you're not beholden to Adobe to fix Flash issues. Instead, between Chrome, IE, Firefox

            • by hairyfeet (841228)

              I'm sorry but bullshit. I can take a low power nettop or netbook and use the browser of YOUR choice and HTML V5 will still suck more balls than a bangkok whore. In fact I'll be happy to take the Pepsi challenge and put HTML V5 against flash with no GPU accelerated SD video and record the results, HTML V5 is a fucking piggie and the web is full of complaints just like mine. if you think it works its because you are running it on a high power multicore or have GPU acceleration for H.264 as HTML V5 is just a b

      • You seem to have failed to notice how energetically Oracle is promoting JavaFX and pushing the technology forward.

  • Pinkie Pie? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Vylen (800165) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @05:16PM (#41613401)
    So a My Little Pony hacked up Chrome?

    I await the fan art for this visual image!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @05:23PM (#41613473)

      What can we say, that reputation for breaking the fourth wall includes sandboxes.

      Sterling work here.

    • by sandytaru (1158959) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @05:39PM (#41613563) Journal
      The laws of physics don't apply to Pinkie Pie. Neither do the laws of programming.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      So a My Little Pony hacked up Chrome?

      Eeyup. This is actually the second time [slashdot.org] Pinkie's done this sort of thing, although Google's response time is about 20% cooler than it was last time around.

      I await the fan art for this visual image!

      Okie dokie lokey! Hold onto your hooves, 'cuz here we go!

      Pinkie Pie Breaks The Fourth Wall For The Last Time [youtube.com] (Warning: Dubstep)

      Cupcakes [youtube.com] (Warning: Cupcakes.)

    • I don't know about My Little Pony, but I do know that Pinkie Pie is the nickname that Skippyjon Jones mom calls him in the book "Skippyjon Jones: Lost in Spice" that I read my daughter weekly before going to bed, lol. I think that the name comes from his overly large pink inside pie shaped Siamese cat ears.

  • by Trax3001BBS (2368736) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @05:28PM (#41613511) Homepage Journal

    Hacking Google for fun, profit and to the benefit of other's.

  • I do wonder (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Trax3001BBS (2368736) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @05:30PM (#41613529) Homepage Journal

    How hard Pinkie Pie had to fight not use their real name, or if Google just let it slide.

    • by wierd_w (1375923)

      The answer is simple.

      Pinkie Pie simply makes use of exploit code to circumvent google's "real name" requiremets for google services. It was, in fact, by getting good at retaining his pseudonym that he became skilled enough to enter these competitions. ;D

      (And I totally pulled that out of my ass. For my next trick..)

  • by epSos-de (2741969) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @05:40PM (#41613573) Homepage Journal
    Who would have thought that legal hacking can make you rich faster than a day job. I bet he can live quite OK with the prize money, until the itch for luxury will create more need for money.
    • by cbhacking (979169)

      60K USD isn't exactly "make you rich" territory in the US, but it's a hell of a lot of money for a teenager. That's pretty close to the median annual salary. It's easily enough to get you through college if you don't go somewhere expensive (do it twice, like he did, and you're looking at enough money for an unsubsidized Ivy League education if you're careful about other expenses). It's enough money to start up a very small business, or enough to buy a modest house in the less expensive parts of the country.

      • by DragonWriter (970822) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @06:56PM (#41614239)

        60K USD isn't exactly "make you rich" territory in the US, but it's a hell of a lot of money for a teenager. That's pretty close to the median annual salary.

        If by "pretty close" you mean "well above".

        For 2010 (the most recent year for which statistics are available; the 2011 statistics should be available this month), the Social Security Administration [ssa.gov] figures show the median annual wage in the US as $26,363.55, and the average annual wage as $39,959.30.

        So, $60K is more than twice the median annual wage and more than 1.5 times the average annual wage. Its also a more than the median household income ($50,054 in 2011, per the U.S. Census Bureau [census.gov]).

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Billly Gates (198444)

          Those statistics really show a disturbing trend. The death of the middle class and the very rich who bring up that average so high. They are already buying houses in cash in an effort to raise rent prices and also use their wealth to collect rents on food and oil prices on those who do not have anything.

          I can't see how anyone besides a single person living a very humble and low end lifestyle can survive at $26k a year! I would have to live with my parents if I earned that just to pay off my student loans. I

          • by cbhacking (979169)

            Yeah, I messed up, my bad. It's about median for tech sector jobs. It is, as other posters have pointed out, way above median overall. ... damn but the median is low, too. I live in a relatively affluent state (Washington, home of Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing, etc.) and am a lot less familiar with expected incomes in other parts of the country (the only other region I've looked at is the greater Bay Area in California, which is even more affluent but has an outrageous cost of living). I doubt you can buy a hou

        • $60k is doing good, but he's done it twice this year. $120k per year is not bad at all if he can keep it up.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          That's scary. Your country's median is below our minimum wage. :( I thought Americans were better off than that.

          Edit: just realised that I'm an AC and that may not have the opportunity to write back. Country is Australia, minimum wage for a full-time adult (over-21) worker is $31,523.

      • Oh please and a spoiled American. You want to talk about how much 60k a year is? How about make $10 a day working 12 hours as fast as body can do at Foxxcon in China sound? To them $30,000 is A TON OF MONEY.

        Sure you can't buy yatchs with that but I have made far less money and struggled like millions of other people reading this in the recent economic downtown. I would feel like a king for $60k a year! ... now if you buy 60k cars, $300,000 homes, eat out 5 times a week, put all your expenses on a credit car

        • by mattack2 (1165421)

          How cute that you think that a $300K home is a "rich" home. There have been a _few_ homes in the $300Ks in the past few years that I've seen, but pretty much $399K starting, and that's for 1 or 2 bedrooms, 1 bath. Even those are starting to go well into the $400Ks.

    • $60,000 is not a retirement fund. He can live quite okay on that for up to a year, depending on where he lives. In some places, like California, he can live quite well for a few weeks.

  • Crack on demand (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Xylantiel (177496) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @05:52PM (#41613679)
    I think this demonstration of crack-on-demand is not really a good thing for chrome. This means that cracks for chrome are not worth too much more than 60k on the black market. That doesn't seem like a very high price.
    • by photon317 (208409)

      Maybe some people have standards and would rather participate in Google's process instead of feed black-market attackers for profit? Or if you want to continue to be cynical, you could say that the name recognition and possible future effects on a career are better this way than the black market route, and that's worth more than the $60K.

      • by Xylantiel (177496)
        Sure "some" people do. The point is that if someone will do it for 60k plus props, then there are plenty of others that can do it for nefarious purposes. Also I'm not just being cynical, there is a practical component. Looking at it from the practical security standpoint this indicates a market value of a given type of crack, and therefore the approximate cost of such an attack to the hypothetical adversary in your security evaluation. Everything is vulnerable to a "motivated enough" attacker. Security
  • by Anonymous Coward

    i) Create known flaw - a 'bug'
    ii) challenge others to find bug
    iii) fix 'bug' very quickly
    iv) profit - as you Do Know Evil

    • by MtHuurne (602934)

      Because the alternative:

      i) write the code as secure as they can
      ii) challenge others to find bug
      iii) issue a press release that despite high bounties, no-one could break their browser

      ...doesn't require such subterfuge, is $60K cheaper and is also good publicity.

      Besides, who says a deliberately injected flaw would be found first by someone attending the event? If it is not found, the plot fails, while if it is found first by a black hat they could be facing very bad publicity if it's being exploited in the w

    • I must have missed the part where Google is making bank off of their free browser.

  • Good to see (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dubbreak (623656) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @05:53PM (#41613693)
    It's good to see Google is able to get patches out this quick. I've worked in small businesses that same day fixes were doable but a challenge and a government office with so much red tape pushing something to production that quick would have been impossible. I bet neither MS nor Apple could pull that off.

    Looks like Google is keeping it's hacker culture alive rather than becoming a slow moving behemoth like their competitors.
    • by edibobb (113989)
      I agree. It's nice to see competence and common sense in a large company.
    • Re:Good to see (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cbhacking (979169) <been_out_cruisin ... nOSPam.yahoo.com> on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @06:51PM (#41614203) Homepage Journal

      MS certainly, and Apple probably, have the technical expertise to do so. Of course, there are usually other barriers. The problem isn't necessarily red tape, either... Chrome is a fairly young product, and has very little legacy code relying on its functionality. Even so, I question whether they did anything close to a full regression test on this patch. That's not to say that I expect the patch to have caused regressions; I just doubt that they can say, with full confidence, that it didn't. For something like IE, here there is a *huge* amount of third-party legacy code, some of it very crufty yet effectively unreplaceable, finding the root cause of the problem and writing the patch are trivial compared to the time that MS absolutely must spend on regression testing. There have been times in the past where a patch for a serious issue was made available quickly (within a day or so) as an opt-in hotfix, but typically they can't do a full "push to production" (i.e. make it an automatic update) in less than about a week.

      The hacker/cowboy-coder culture often serves young products well, but it doesn't work once the product matures and develops a legacy. Assuming Chrome succeeds at making serious inroads in business, which is quite possible over the next few years (whether that's Google's current main goal for it or not), Google will have to slow down their "push to production" patch speed a little.

      • by BagOCrap (980854)

        The hacker/cowboy-coder culture often serves young products well, but it doesn't work once the product matures and develops a legacy. Assuming Chrome succeeds at making serious inroads in business, which is quite possible over the next few years (whether that's Google's current main goal for it or not), Google will have to slow down their "push to production" patch speed a little.

        Mod parent insightful, please.

      • IE is here to stay in the office!

        Firefox was just starting to get some traction with 3.6 before all hell broke loose with the rapid release. Business needs something that is the same year after year after year that can be locked down at the admin level and just go away out of sight and out of mind. App vendors need to certify it and right now only IE offers that. I read here about intranet developers furious at Mozilla for they hate writing IE 6 code in 2011 but now are permanently stuck as they wont no if

    • It's good to see Google is able to get patches out this quick.

      It was a planned event - and thus Google probably had a team ready to go into action if/when an exploit was found. So, not really all that impressive at all. And it's very doubtful they had time to properly QA the patch given the speed of deployment.

      Looks like Google is keeping it's hacker culture alive rather than becoming a slow moving behemoth like their competitors.

      Looks more like Google has learned the PR culture well - much like i

    • by kiwimate (458274)

      That this got modded to +4 Interesting says all one needs to know about Slashdot's readership in late 2012.

      1. Ever heard of emergency changes?
      1. (a) Ever heard of "we know we have this event specifically designed to elicit bug reports, so hey, let's put in a special procedure to integrate fixes ASAP, 'cause then we'll look all cool and stuff"?
      2. Ever heard of regression testing? (That's okay, judging by Google's perpetual beta status for everything, they haven't either.)

      • 2. Ever heard of regression testing? (That's okay, judging by Google's perpetual beta status for everything, they haven't either.)/quote?
        And yet Google's betas tend to be far more reliable and generally better than most competitor's releases.

    • by ruir (2709173)
      The reality is that MS and Apple know fairly well that in the long run is counter-intuitive to post small 0-day patches. They know fairly well they are easy to reverse engineer and thus, more people will be aware of the flaw and will develop more exploits.
  • should be the main metric for security for web browsers (and other software exposed to the internet).

    It would difficult to argue that there are not security holes in all browsers and that the holes can be found and exploited with sufficient resources. All of the security measures browser makers use at best make it harder to get a working exploit.
    I think that that closing the wholes as fast as possible lowers the expected profit for finding an exploit and lowers the time the user is exposed and that this is

  • Non-existant QA? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jmac880n (659699) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @06:00PM (#41613769)

    While the turn-around time is impressive, it could not possibly have undergone extensive QA testing...

    I understand that some bugs can have such OBVIOUS solutions - what could POSSIBLY go wrong with the fix???

    • by Vylen (800165)
      Depends on what was modified.

      Identify the module(s) impacted by the change required for the fix. Apply the fix. Test the fix works, then regression test the modules. Given small system then there's probably no problem for a 10 hour turn around - right?
      • by Chirs (87576) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @06:16PM (#41613935)

        If the fix changes a behaviour in a corner-case not caught by a unit test then your module regression test isn't worth much anymore.

        • by GeekBoy (10877) <leewsb@@@hotmail...com> on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @06:44PM (#41614161) Homepage

          Better to patch a vulnerability with the small possibility of having to issue another patched version to correct a corner case than to leave a vulnerability out there.

          • by Rockoon (1252108)
            It is precisely your sort of careless haphazard thinking that keeps businesses away from Google products.

            "What do you mean we can't run our business until Google pushes out a patch for the patch? GeekBoy, your advice to switch to chrome just cost us 10 million dollars! You are fired! Get out now!"
            • by jibjibjib (889679)

              If a piece of software is critical to your business, you test updates and patches before deploying them, and you make sure you have the ability to roll back to a previous version if something ends up not working.

              This advice is not specific to Google products.

              • by cooldev (204270)

                Does Google give businesses the ability to test updates and do a controlled rollout of patches for Chrome? Based on a cursory search of the web the answer seems to be "No", but I could be wrong...

                Updates happen always and automatically even if the user doesn't have Administrative privileges.

            • by GeekBoy (10877)

              Oh yes, because waiting 3-6 months to patch a vulnerability that can lead to exploited systems, infrastructure and ultimately your IP being sent to China or Russia is a better option.

              I'm sure that if the cost of one web-browser not working is 10 million dollars, the cost of eliminating rootkits/trojans from all the desktops on your network, (and maybe some of the servers) is going to be so much less.

              As mentioned below. If you are actually running your operations, instead of letting your users do it for you,

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Sounds like this was some missing error checking on the IPC messages between sandbox and main browser components, so this is pretty easy to fix. I wonder what the turnaround time will be when the exploit reprograms the GPU to write directly back to memory, bypassing the IPC and sandbox entirely. Chrome security is a paper bag as long as they allow 3d graphics from untrusted code.

    • by MtHuurne (602934) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @08:29PM (#41614885) Homepage

      This is Google, they do a lot of automated testing and they're good at distributing workloads, so it's likely it did undergo extensive testing in a very short time. Also testing is all about managing risk: what are the chances of this fix introducing something that is worse than the issue itself? This pair of bugs allows an attacker to inject code and escape from the sandbox, which clearly falls into the Bad Things Category.

    • by swillden (191260)

      While the turn-around time is impressive, it could not possibly have undergone extensive QA testing...

      You mean it could not have undergone extensive QA testing by humans. Google has really excellent automated testing infrastructure, at all levels of unit, functional, integration and system tests.

  • Back when people finding security holes had to beg to get vendors to fix them, the patch-and-release approach had a chance of working. Now that there's an active market in security holes, someone who finds one can make more money selling it to the attack side.

  • by BeanThere (28381) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @06:57PM (#41614253)

    Factoring all overheads (e.g. HR, office space, equipment), how much would a company like Google have to pay to hire a security team to do the amount of security testing work done collectively at this "competition"? Well above $2,000,000. A whole bunch of people do free testing, and one guy gets $60,000 'and a free Chromebook, wow' - not that impressive an amount, considering the amount of self-training and self-development you have to put it in to reach that level of expertise, and the amount of time needed to find a security problem. $60K is, what, maybe 6 months salary of hiring a person of that skill level to do similar work .. when you factor in overhead costs, maybe even just 3 or 4 months worth (Google would probably have been very lucky to hire someone to find that bug for that cost). Come on Google, you can afford to pay people properly for such valuable work .. I don't like these cheap tricks that companies like Google use to effectively get people to work for them for free or peanuts.

    • Come on Google, you can afford to pay people properly for such valuable work

      Presumably they _do_ pay people for such valuable work. This isn't a "cheap trick", it simply acknowledges that:
      - No matter what experience you do employ, there will always be vastly more external experience.
      - Not everyone interested in these things would necessarily be motivated by being employed by Google (or even by money).
      - Offering an alternative to the black market for such skills is a good idea.

      • by BeanThere (28381)

        It doesn't merely "acknowledge" that fact, it "abuses" and "exploits" that fact. I don't use words like "exploit" lightly, but when you are effectively knowingly getting people to work for you for free, that kind of pushes my buttons .. and the fact is that Google are letting people do highly skilled and valuable work for them, for free, which they then use for private commercial gain ... I think it is immoral on some level to knowingly allow someone to work for you for free, even if they want to (e.g. if m

    • by ruir (2709173)
      I actually dont think this competition is any substitute any day for regression testing....
      • by BeanThere (28381)

        Nobody claimed it was a substitute, so I don't know why you said that. Regression testing is something you do "anyway", so the question is, how much value does this add in addition to that, and the answer is 'a lot more than the cost of the competition' ... the amount of effective testing performed by competitors collectively is probably equivalent to an entire small team of $100K+/year experts working for months, not to mention the savings of not having damage caused by the exploit being used by someone ma

  • As mentioned this isn't first time Pinkie Pie has made bank off of Google [slashdot.org]. This appears to bring his yearly earnings from this to $120,000. Seems like rather profitable work, but assuming (hoping?) the limited number of zero day exploits I reckon this quickly becomes a tight zero-sum game for the participants.

    • by Laxori666 (748529)

      Step 1) Team up with someone.
      Step 2) One of you goes to work at Google.
      Step 3) Google employee introduces exploits.
      Step 4) You find them first and get paid by Google.
      Step 5) Profit!

      Wait, usually there are ???s in there... I must have done it wrong.

  • Where can I view the details of this bug, and the patch made to fix it? I am curious what source code changes were made. The issues for this bug are locked... why can't the public view them?

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