So, headlines have been proclaiming that Chrome, the minimalist browser from Google, survived this years PWN2OWN contest. PWN2OWN offers monetary prizes in addition to the hardware that can be compromised by the contestant. This year, as in previous years, Apple’s Safari browser was the first to fall, followed by Internet Explorer 8 on the PC. Safari fell in five seconds. Apple has released an update that fixes 62 (!) vulnerabilities, except for the one used to break the browser.
IE 8 was compromised because the winner was able to bypass protected mode. Protected mode is supposed to prevent the browser from being hacked.
In portable devices, iPhone 4 and the Blackberry Torch were felled. Android and Windows Phone 7 were unchallenged. Which brings me to my point…
Those headlines proclaiming Chrome as not having been hacked are misleading. Look at my headline. Windows Phone 7 unhackable at PWN2OWN would be very appropriate but misleading. Chrome went unchallenged, just like Android and Windows Phone 7. Two people had signed up to take down Chrome but both were a no show.
I am pretty sure there are a number of ways to take Chrome down, but since Google is the darling of computer land right now, the hackers don’t want to bludgeon Google’s reputation. By extension, this applies to Android as well since Android is a Google backed initiative, even though there are a number of exploits out in the wild.
Windows Phone 7 probably did not garner any attention because no one cares.
So, there you go. Chrome, more than likely, is not any safer than the others (well, OK, it probably is much more safer than Safari) it’s just that no one wants to make it look bad. Just like the lack of viruses on the Macintosh.
But, really, if you want to guarantee that you do not get any at all, just use Lynx.