CanSecWest to hold ‘PWN to OWN’ contest: pits Apple MacBook Pros vs. hackers

Apple StoreOrganizers of CanSecWest Vancouver 2007 have announced that they will be running a contest “PWN to OWN” where two, “loaded up, Apple Macbook Pro’s will be set up on their own AP (with security updates but otherwise default) and attendees will be able to connect to the ethernet or WiFi. The first to exploit it (there are victory conditions, and progressive rules over the three days) gets to go home with it. (Limit one per person, Can’t use the same vuln on both.) If they survive the three days in the ‘jungle,’ they become prizes for best lightning talk and best speaker. Detailed contest rules to follow shortly.”

Full article here.
That an operating system that has just recently celebrated its sixth birthday is subject to such a contest should tell you all you need to know about Mac OS X security.

Related articles:
Apple Mac remains ‘unhacked’ as University of Wisconsin’s Mac OS X Security Challenge ends – March 08, 2006
Mac OS X ‘unhacked’ over 24 hours and counting in genuine security challenge – March 07, 2006
University of Wisconsin launches Mac OS X Security Challenge – March 06, 2006


  1. This kind of stuff has got to be just awesome research/marketing for Apple. If nobody hacks in, then that news will spread across the ‘net as good, free publicity. If somebody does find a hack, then Apple can use the data to close the hole.

  2. I think this is cool. In the end, it will only make things better. But more so, Macs are really becoming popular and desirable to those who didn’t care before. In a couple of years, the computing landscape could be considerably different and increasingly in our favor.

  3. This really is great. A real security conferrence putting the Mac up to the test. Eitherway, they’ll make some noise. Either someone walks away with the MBP and it’s all over the news about how they did it, or nobody can hack a default config MBP and the Mac is seen (in the Security community) as a truly safe computer.

    Hmm, I wonder why they didn’t use a Dell for this contest… Oh, yea, it would have been gone in the first 10 minutes with people hacking it.

  4. The big problem with this contest is if the Macs get hacked, that will be big news repeated on every pro-microsoft blog and news media. If they can’t be hacked, it will only reinforce what most Mac users already know – no news.

  5. I find it humourous that Microsoft is one of the short list of Sponsors.

    Perhaps they would just love to see some hackers taking home some free macs… to them it would be so much more.

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