Last week at the CanSecWest security conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, Trend Micro and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise sponsored Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative’s (ZDI) annual Pwn2Own contest for 2016.
As mentioned in our earlier post it was an exciting event. Tencent Security Team Sniper (KeenLab and PC Manager) pulled out a win in the very last attempt. You can’t make a security research competition more exciting than that.
As fun and exciting as the event was, ultimately that’s only a byproduct. In the end, Pwn2Own is a serious business. Our ZDI didn’t hand out US$460,000 just because they’re nice people (though they really are).
Pwn2Own serves a very serious purpose of helping improve the security of our Trend Micro TippingPoint customers, as well as everyone on the Internet.
Unlike other competitions, we’re not just giving away prizes for what the competitors have achieved. Our ZDI is also paying the researchers for their time and effort in finding these vulnerabilities. Most importantly, we’re purchasing the intellectual property rights to their research; information about the vulnerabilities and the means to exploit them that the researchers have found.
Our ZDI team then takes that information and sends it on to the appropriate vendors so they can build patches to protect all their customers. This is subject to our usual Coordinated Vulnerability Disclosure policy with a 120 day window.
What’s less well-known is that our DVLabs team is also at every Pwn2Own. They’re in the disclosure room with the researchers, the vendors and the ZDI team. As Steve Povolny with DVLabs notes, their focus is getting information. Specifically, getting the information DVLabs needs to build filters that protect TippingPoint customers against attempts to attack the vulnerabilities those researchers used at Pwn2Own.
This year’s Pwn2Own saw 21 new vulnerabilities disclosed. With today’s TippingPoint Digital Vaccine filter release our customers are as well protected as possible until Adobe, Apple, Google and Microsoft release updates to address these vulnerabilities.
That is ultimately why we do Pwn2Own; to make TippingPoint customers safe through the protections our filters provide, and everyone safe by getting security vulnerabilities patched in a coordinated way.
Please add your thoughts in the comments below or follow me on Twitter; @ChristopherBudd.