The hacking competition saw some big wins for hackers, and some major losses for Microsoft.
Microsoft is taking a big security-based stance with the latest iterations of its software. As such, you’d expect a group of hackers to struggle when trying to crack it. Unfortunately, a hacking contest proved that wrong, as both Windows 11 and Teams buckled under the prowess of some of the best hackers in the world in a single day.
Big Results From the Pwn2Own Competition
As reported on the Zero Day Initiative, the Pwn2Own competition is currently underway. This contest pits hackers against one another as they try to crack into software and show off their skills.
This may sound like some strange underground criminal contest, but the truth is anything but. Pwn2Own is about ethical hacking. If a hacker finds an exploit, they will then report what they found to the developers in private so that they can fix any flaws.
In exchange, the hacker wins themselves a nice chunk of cash for their efforts. This symbiotic relationship is called a bug bounty, and it’s a legal way for hackers to make some serious money with their skills.
Day one of Pwn2Own is over, and taking a look at the bounty board shows that Microsoft’s software didn’t stand up well to the onslaught. The event saw three successful attacks on Microsoft Teams, and two against Windows 11. Each successful hack was rewarded accordingly, with the lowest bounty coming in at an impressive $ 40,000, and the biggest at an eye-watering $ 150,000.
Microsoft wasn’t the only victim in the contest; both Mozilla and Oracle also saw their software cracked open for cash. But a lot of the results came from Teams and Windows 11, both of which paid out very handsomely to the hackers who managed to break in.
There are still two more days of Pwn2Own, so there will likely be even more successful attacks against Microsoft’s software. However, for the time being, the day one results are more than enough to show how the Redmond giant’s software is faring.
A Wake-Up Call for Microsoft
Microsoft has been big on security as of late. If you tried to upgrade to Windows 11 on an older PC, you were likely told that you can’t do it because your processor doesn’t support TPM 2.0. This requirement is to ensure that Windows 11 is as safe as it can be.
However, hackers managed to take successful potshots at both Windows 11 and Teams at this event, all on the first day. And while Microsoft will get all the information they need to fix the leveraged exploits against their software, it does show that its programs are potentially not as secure as it first thought.
Back to the Lab With Windows 11
With hackers putting up big wins against Microsoft’s apps at Pwn2Win, it shows that the company’s software is perhaps not as secure as it should be. Hopefully, Microsoft can publish fixes for these exploits before they fall into the wrong hands.