Organizers behind the CanSecWest security conference in Vancouver are putting together a "hacker superbowl" of sorts, pitting attendees' skills against Vista, Mac OS X and Linux. Dubbed PWN 2 OWN (ewwww), the objective is to develop a brand-new "zero day" attack to take control of one of the three operating systems loaded onto laptops. There's a grand prize of US$20,000, and the hacked laptop will go to the first contestant to pull it off. So, the question is—which OS do you think will go down first? UPDATE: A winner has been announced! Vote and then hit the jump to see if you were correct.
It appears that contestant Charlie Miller just earned himself $10,000 for hacking a Macbook Air inside two minutes. So, those of you who voted Vista as the first to go down are probably fairly shocked right now. Miller was also among the researchers who first hacked Apple's iPhone last year, so it may not be all that surprising to hear that he was able to work his magic with OS X so quickly.
During day one hackers were only allowed to use network-based attacks. Not surprisingly, no one even attempted it. Today the rules were relaxed to allow hacks that involve websites and email. So, Miller utilized a simple website that contained exploit code to get the job done—which leads us to believe that the flaw he exploited exists within the Safari browser. Too bad they cut the prize money in half with each passing day. [PWN 2 OWN via Yahoo and PC World]