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Mobile Pwn2Own 2014: The day one recap

Mobile Pwn2Own 2014: The day one recap


Day One of HP ZDI’s annual Mobile Pwn2Own competition closed with a clean sweep – five teams, five targets, five successful attempts. In the process, nine bugs were exploited and immediately provided to vendors via coordinated disclosure.


After a slightly late start to the morning, South Korean competition veterans lokihardt@ASRT approached the bench with a two-bug combination that pwned the Apple iPhone 5S via the Safari browser. While details of these and all other Pwn2Own bugs are closely held among the researcher, vendor, and ZDI, one of the bugs executed a full Safari sandbox escape.


Figure 1:  lokihardt@ARST prepares to start the competition off right [photo: ZDI]


The second contest was the first of two consecutive (and successful) attempts against the Samsung Galaxy S5. The first effort, from Japan’s Team MBSD, used NFC as a vector to trigger a deserialization issue in certain code specific to Samsung.


The other Samsung pwnage, brought to the competition by Jon Butler of South Africa’s MWR InfoSecurity, took another approach focusing on NFC. In this case, the exploit targeted a logical error that’s possible on the Samsung Galaxy S5 devices.


Adam Laurie from the UK’s Aperture Labs stepped up in the fourth competition spot with another NFC attack that proves that life sometimes does imitate art. A two-bug exploit targeting NFC capabilities on the LG Nexus 5 (a Google-supported device) demonstrated a way to force BlueTooth pairing between phones – a plot point, as several observers noted, on the television show “Person of Interest.”


Figure 2: Adam Laurie is the fourth contestant with a successful attack [photo: ZDI]


Finally, the three-man MWR InfoSecurity team of Kyle Riley, Bernard Wagner, and Tyrone Erasmus wrapped up the first day of competition with a successful three-bug medley targeting the Amazon Fire Phone’s Web browser. Tune in tomorrow at 10am JST (5pm Wednesday PST, 1am GMT) when the contest greets its final two participants, Nico Joly targeting Windows Phone and Jüri Aedla targeting Android.




  • Mobile
  • pwn2own
  • Security
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