Google fixes Chrome vulnerabilities exploited at Pwn2Own contest

New versions of Chrome for Windows, Mac, Linux and Android patch a full sandbox escape vulnerability

By Lucian Constantin, IDG News Service |  Security

Google released emergency security updates for Chrome in order to patch critical vulnerabilities demonstrated Thursday by a security researcher at the Mobile Pwn2Own hacking competition.

The vulnerabilities were exploited by a security researcher who uses the pseudonym Pinkie Pie to achieve arbitrary code execution on a Nexus 4 and a Samsung Galaxy S4 device, earning him a prize of US$50,000 in the contest.

Following Pinkie Pie's demonstration, the vulnerabilities were reported to Google, which took less than a day to fix them and push out new patches.

Even though the researcher demonstrated his exploit on Chrome for Android, Google also fixed the vulnerabilities in Chrome for Windows, Mac and Linux, as well as in Chrome Frame plug-in for Internet Explorer.

Google describes the vulnerabilities only as "multiple memory corruption issues," but the Pwn2Own contest organizers said Pinkie Pie's attack exploited an integer overflow and a separate vulnerability that allowed for a full sandbox escape.

Google Chrome's application sandbox separates the browser's processes from the operating system, making it difficult to achieve arbitrary code execution. Pinkie Pie demonstrated Chrome sandbox escape exploits before in 2012, as part of Google's own Pwnium contests.

Google released version 31.0.1650.57 of Chrome for Windows, Mac and Linux; Chrome Frame 31.0.1650.57 and Chrome for Android version 31.0.1650.59 to address the vulnerabilities.

In addition to fixing security and stability issues, the new version of Chrome for Android adds support for printing on Android KitKat devices and enhances autofill on websites that support requestAutocomplete, Google said in the release notes.

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