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Chrome hacker wins $60,000 for finding 'full' exploit

The winner, Sergey Glazunov, was the first to submit an entry in Google's Pwnium competition to find security exploits in Chrome.

Less than two weeks after Google launched Pwnium, a competition for hackers to find security exploits in Chrome, the search giant has announced its first winner.

Google's Sundar Pichai announced on his Google+ page yesterday that Chromium contributor Sergey Glazunov submitted the first successful entry to the Pwnium contest, revealing a "Full Chrome Exploit" that bypassed the browser's sandboxing security. The exploit makes it possible for a malicious hacker to do just about anything they want on an infected machine.

In an interview published yesterday by CNET sister site ZDNet, Justin Schuh of the Chrome security team said that Glazunov was able to execute "code with full permission of the logged-on user." Schuh called the feat "impressive," and said that it deserved the $60,000 bounty.

Glazunov is the first person to win cash from Google's Pwnium competition. The company launched the contest in late February with promises of awarding up to $1 million to those who can find security holes in Chrome. The highest $60,000 prize is given only to those who can obtain "Chrome/Windows 7 local OS user account persistence using only bugs in Chrome itself." A $40,000 prize will be awarded to individuals who can target Chrome with one of its own bugs, plus others found in the operating system. Google's $20,000 award is given to those who can find issues without using bugs in Chrome.

"We require each set of exploit bugs to be reliable, fully functional end to end, disjoint, of critical impact, present in the latest versions and genuinely '0-day,' i.e. not known to us or previously shared with third parties," Google wrote in its blog announcing the contest. "Contestant's exploits must be submitted to and judged by Google before being submitted anywhere else."

Now that Glazunov's discovery has been verified, Google is "working fast on a fix," Pichai wrote on his Google+ page. The company says that it'll push the fix out in an auto-update.

"This is exciting; we launched Pwnium this year to encourage the security community to submit exploits for us to help make the web safer," Pichai wrote. "We look forward to any additional submissions to make Chrome even stronger for our users."