(Cross-posted from the Google Chromium Blog

Security is one of the core tenets of Chrome, but no software is perfect, and security bugs slip through even the best development and review processes. That’s why we’ve continued to engage with the security research community to help us find and fix vulnerabilities. Recently, HP’s Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) announced details for the annual Pwn2Own competition, to be held at the CanSecWest security conference taking place March 6-8 in Vancouver, BC. This year we’ve teamed up with ZDI by working together on the Pwn2Own rules and by underwriting a portion of the winnings for all targets. The new rules are designed to enable a contest that significantly improves Internet security for everyone. At the same time, the best researchers in the industry get to showcase their skills and take home some generous rewards.

Today we’re announcing our third Pwnium competition—Pwnium 3. Google Chrome is already featured in the Pwn2Own competition this year, so Pwnium 3 will have a new focus: Chrome OS.

We’ll issue Pwnium 3 rewards for Chrome OS at the following levels, up to a total of $3.14159 million USD:
  • $110,000: browser or system level compromise in guest mode or as a logged-in user, delivered via a web page. 
  • $150,000: compromise with device persistence -- guest to guest with interim reboot, delivered via a web page. 
We believe these larger rewards reflect the additional challenge involved with tackling the security defenses of Chrome OS, compared to traditional operating systems.

The attack must be demonstrated against a base (WiFi) model of the Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook, running the latest stable version of Chrome OS. Any installed software (including the kernel and drivers, etc.) may be used to attempt the attack. For those without access to a physical device, note that the Chromium OS developer’s guide offers assistance on getting up and running inside a virtual machine.

Standard Pwnium rules apply: the deliverable is the full exploit plus accompanying explanation and breakdown of individual bugs used. Exploits should be served from a password-authenticated and HTTPS-supported Google property, such as Google App Engine. The bugs used must not be known to us or fixed on trunk. We reserve the right to issue partial rewards for partial, incomplete or unreliable exploits.

Pwnium 3 will take place on-site at the CanSecWest conference on March 7.