Contestants at Pwn2Own take down Safari, but said OS X security is better than other systems

As usual, the annual Pwn2Own contest featured many hackers targeting the latest operating systems and browsers from the major vendors, including Apple. Threatpost reports that the “Keen Team” focused Safari on Thursday and exploited it with relative ease.

The team took home a $40,000 bounty for their efforts on Safari, as well as a share in a $75,000 prize for co-engineering a zero-day Flash exploit. They say they will donate some of their winnings towards charities representing missing Malaysian Airplane passengers.

The group say that for Safari, they used two different exploit vectors. One vulnerability was a heap overflow in WebKit that enabled arbitrary code execution. The team then used this opening to use another exploit to bypass the application sandbox and run code as if it was user privileged.

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Play 8 free re-imagined Atari HTML5 classic games [Video]

The place where Steve Jobs got his start, Atari, has been porting its classic games to HTML5 on a browser for cross-platform capabilities. Sure, Microsoft is doing some of the promotional work, but the games work across platforms and browsers.

Step into a bizarro time warp and play games like the re-imagined Centipede, Combat, or six others. More importantly, Atari is building HTML5 frameworks for more games in the future, which could benefit other developers.

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Safari posts stronger gains than Google’s Chrome in July

Although Chrome controls one-fifth of the global web browsing market and has overtaken Firefox as the second most-used browser in the UK, Google’s browser has been growing slower in absolute terms than Apple’s Safari in the month of July. In July, Chrome added .34 percentage points of market share for a 13.45 percent web usage share. In the same period, Safari grew .57 percentage points for a 8.05 percent web usage share in July, per latest Net Applications metrics. Apple’s and Google’s browser were the only ones growing (with the exception of the Other category), while Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Mozilla’s Firefox ceded market share and had 52.81 and 21.48 percent web usage share.

A big factor: Apple just revamped its consumer MacBook Airs and Mac Minis as well as refreshing the Mac OS with Lion.

Of course, the numbers are not representative of the whole market because Net Applications derives stats from some 40,000 participating web sites, but they’re a good and fairly accurate indication of market trends.

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Embarrassing: MacBook Air, Safari 5.0.4 pwned at hacking contest in five seconds

Why is it that Apple’s otherwise excellent Safari browser seems to be more prone to vulnerabilities than rival offerings from Microsoft, Google and Mozilla? Ever since security whiz Charlie Miller in 2008 broke into the MacBook Air in two minutes through Safari, the browser has been the subject of intense criticism for its various security weaknesses. Well, Safari just got pwned again at yesterday’s HP TippingPoint-sponsored hacking challenge at the CanSecWest security conference in Vancouver, British Columbia.

This time, the bragging rights belong to the French security firm Vupen which won a cool $15,000 and a MacBook Air for beating its perks in pwning Apple’s browser. It took the team just a few seconds to exploit an unpatched Safari vulnerability. “We pwned Apple Safari on Mac OS X (x64) at pwn2own in 5 seconds,” they tweeted.
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Firefox is now the most popular browser in Europe

Here’s some interesting news from the periphery.  In Europe, where Microsoft was forced to institute a ‘browser ballot ‘upon the installation of Windows (giving Opera, Safari, Chrome, Firefox and IE equal billing), Firefox has just passed IE as the most popular browser on the continent.

That’s according to Statcounter who told Reuters “This appears to be happening because Google’s Chrome is stealing share from Internet Explorer while Firefox is mainly maintaining its existing share. We are probably seeing the impact of the agreement between European Commission competition authorities and Microsoft, to offer EU users a choice and menu of browsers from March last year.”

Given equal footing with other browsers, users just don’t pick IE (remember this ballot is only a year old and it will likely get much worse for Microsoft.

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