Pwn2Own hacking contest offers record $560k in prizes

HP TippingPoint, the long-time organiser of the annual Pwn2Own hacking contest, announced on Friday that it will offer cash awards exceeding half a million dollars for this year’s competition, more than five times the amount paid out last year.

The 2013 edition of the contest will offer $560,000 in potential prize money to hackers who demonstrate exploits of previously unknown vulnerabilities in Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer (IE), Safari, or the Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash or Oracle Java browser plug-ins.

Prizes will be awarded on a sliding schedule, with $100,000 for the first to hack Chrome on Windows 7 or IE10 on Windows 8. From there, payments will fall to $75,000 for IE9 and slide through a number of targets before ending at $20,000 for Java. Prizes will also be given for exploiting Adobe Flash and Adobe Reader ($70,000 each), Safari ($65,000) and Firefox ($60,000).