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Apple's Safari will be the first to go in hacking challenge

by on18 February 2010


We are not the only ones saying so

The organizers
of the Pwn2Own hacking challenge are predicting that hackers will turn over Apple's Safari within a matter of minutes.

For years Apple has been claiming that it writes the most secure code despite the fact that at the faintest attention from a hacker it tends to lie on its back and let the intruder have their wicked way with it. Every time there is a security competition, it appears that Apple is the soft target.

Aaron Portnoy, security research team lead with 3Com TippingPoint, the sponsor of Pwn2Own. Portnoy is the organizer of the contest said he thought Apple would be the first to go in this year's competition which will be on March 24. Now in its fourth year, Pwn2Own has made headlines for hacks of Apple's Mac OS X and Safari, as well as Microsoft's Windows and that company's Internet Explorer (IE) browser.

In 2009, for example, researcher Charlie Miller hijacked a Mac in less than five seconds through Safari to win $5,000, while a German student knocked down three browsers on Windows to walk off with $15,000. Miller, who works as a principal analyst at Independent Security Evaluators, a security consulting firm, plans to again compete at Pwn2Own and hopes for a hat trick.

But he is not as certain as Portnoy that Apple's browser will tumble first. "Unlike previous years, I'd say Safari isn't significantly easier than the browsers on Windows," Miller said. But he is predicting that two to three browsers will go down, including Safari for the fourth straight year. Last year, Firefox, IE and Safari all fell to attack and only Google's Chrome went unscathed.
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