Last week’s annual Pwn2Own hacking contest at Vancouver’s CanSec West conference did more than generate money for those who were able to crack browsers.

It also spurred Google to quickly post patches to Chrome and Chrome OS before the exploits could be taken advantage of.

Google announced the release updates Friday to those who had won big cash prizes at Pwn2Own and Google’s own Pwnium hacking contests.

This year contests paid money to white hat hackers to find flaws in browsers.

Google paid SU$100,000 to a team from France’s Vupen Security and an anonymous participant for their successful effort in creating exploits outside Chrome’s sandbox, one of which leveraged a Windows clipboard vulnerability.

Another US$160,000 was paid to a participant who didn’t give a name for exploits that used memory corruption and directory traversal.

“We’re delighted at the success of Pwn2Own and the ability to study full exploits,” Google said on its Web site. “We anticipate landing additional changes and hardening measures for these vulnerabilities in the near future. We also believe that both submissions are works of art and deserve wider sharing and recognition. We plan to do technical reports on both Pwn2Own submissions in the future.”

The Pwn2Own contest is sponsored by Hewlett-Packard.

Angela Gunn, senior security content director for HP Security Research, said on a company Web site that the first day of the two-day contest saw successful attempts by five entrants against five products, with payouts of $400,000 to researchers in the main competition and $82,500 to charity in the Pwn4Fun sponsors-only event.

At Pwn4Fun, Google delivered a very impressive exploit against Apple Safari launching Calculator as root on Mac OS X. ZDI presented a multi-stage exploit, including an adaptable sandbox bypass, against Microsoft Internet Explorer, launching Scientific Calculator (running in medium integrity) with continuation. Combined, the two efforts raised $82,500 for the Canadian Red Cross, the charity agreed upon by both sponsors.

The second  daysaw successful attempts by seven entrants against five products, with $450,000 paid to researchers. The two-day payout total was $850,000, not including charitable donations or the value of the laptops, ZDI points, and other prizes given to winning researchers.

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Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]