Pwn2Own Google trowelled plaster over seven security cracks in Chrome on Tuesday, a day before the browser became one of the targets at the annual Pwn2Own hacking competition.
The latest cross platform security update for Chrome fixed four "high" severity flaws and three lesser bugs.
Three of the four high profile bugs were discovered by independent researchers, who earned $8,000 for their efforts, while the final vulnerability was discovered internally by Google. Use-after-free flaws were a common factor in three of the four vulnerabilities, none of which were bad enough to earn the dreaded rating of "critical".
The Pwn2Own hacking competition kicked off on Wednesday during the first day of the CanSecWest security conference in Vancouver, Canada. French vulnerability brokers Vupen Security proved to be the stars of the exercise, cashing in four times by demonstrating successful exploits against Adobe Reader XI, Adobe Flash, Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer 11 on Win 8.1. Independent researchers Mariusz Mlynski and Jüri Aedla exploited vulns in Mozilla Firefox.
The five successful attempts earned payouts of $400,000 to researchers in the main competition and $82,500 to charity in the Pwn4Fun sponsors-only event, according to the organisers (runners and riders here).
Vupen Security chief exec, Chaouki Bekrar, said it was handing over the exploits it developed to affected vendors, a break from Vupen's normal business practice of making exploits available only to its government intel agency and other clients.
HP TippingPoint's Pwn2Own competition has been running since 2007. The parallel Google-funded Pwnium has been running in parallel since 2011.
Pwn2Own challenges security researchers to develop browser and software exploits in order to hack into PCs. Target systems include Windows and Mac machines running Internet Explorer, Apple Safari, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. The competition, so named because winners get to keep the kit they successfully exploit, continues on Thursday. ®