Vanished in 60 seconds! – Chinese cyber criminals shut down Adobe Flash, Internet Explorer


Members of two Chinese cybercriminal organizations have dominated the top awards at a major annual hacking contest held in Vancouver, Canada.

Starting in 2007, cyber attackers who participated in Pwn2Own were successful in breaching the security of popular software such as Adobe Flash, Mozilla's Firefox browser, Adobe PDF Reader, and Microsoft's recently discontinued Internet Explorer.

Flash has the particular ability to facilitate the dissemination of advertising material featuring streamed media and a diverse range of interactive content across myriad websites.

The Shanghai Keen group earned a sum of US$85000 in total. They were awarded US$60000 for hacking Flash in just thirty seconds and an extra US$25000 for discovering a bug in the font handling system of Windows, which allowed them to bypass the built-in security measures and gain supervisor privileges.

The Lu Jihui team from Keen partnered with Jun Mao, a cyber attacker from Tencent PC Manager, to exploit Adobe Reader multiple times and made off with a total of $55,000.

In under a minute, the PDF security measures were circumvented by the pair of hackers.

Another Chinese cyber team, known as 360Vulcan, successfully hacked into Internet Explorer, which is a popular web browser.

Microsoft has announced this week that it will discontinue its widely-used Internet Explorer after two decades due to heavy criticism and replace it with its new browser named Spartan, which is still in development.

The Keen Team has participated in three consecutive competitions this year. Previously, they have successfully bypassed the security measures in Apple's Safari browser and iPhone operating system. They have also managed to hack into Adobe Flash on numerous occasions despite the improvements made to its security features.

The previous year, instead of keeping all their winnings from Pwn2Own, the team gave some of it to charities as a way to support the families of those who lost loved ones in the Malaysian Airlines flight 370 tragedy.

Many members of Keen Cloud Tech's team are recent graduates from Fudan and Jiatong Universities in Shanghai, with an average age of 34. Additionally, some team members were previously information safety researchers at Microsoft before joining the company.

Although the cyber attacks occurred at a very fast pace, Yiping Lv, who is the COO of Keen Cloud Tech, which provides financial assistance to the hacking team, stated that their success was a result of years of practice and expertise.

According to a statement by Lv, developing an understanding of susceptibility is a challenging process and cannot be accomplished easily.

Keen Team is dedicated to enhancing computer security by exploiting system vulnerabilities, but other Chinese hackers have more sinister intentions.

Earlier this week, Mike McConnell, a former manager for the US National Security Agency, reported that hackers supported by the Chinese government have hacked into the computer systems of all major American companies.

He stated that the Chinese have successfully infiltrated and acquired valuable information from significant industries in the United States.

In the past, Beijing consistently denied any connection to hacking. However, the newest version of The Science of Military Strategy, which was released by the main research establishment of the People's Liberation Army in 2013, but only made widely available this month, acknowledges that there are digital ties. Weapon teams are present in both the military and civilian sides of administration.

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