China’s Top-notch Security Research Team, the Keen Team, Wins the 3rd Year in a Row at Global Hacking Competition

VANCOUVER, March 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — The Pwn2Own 2015, the world’s top hacking competition, was ongoing on March 19, Beijing time. Just six hours after the competition kicked off, the reports of victories kept pouring in. The Keen Team, a top-notch security research team from China, continuously took down Flash Player and Adobe Reader, the two plug-ins running in IE, and won their 4th and 5th championship title in Pwn2Own. The Keen Team is also the first security research team in Asia to have made such a great achievement. With its strength in information security technology, China has shocked the world again.

The two sessions which Keen Teem had signed up for began first, and the contest reached a climax from the very outset.

Thirty seconds into the match, the Keen Team researcher, Peter successfully hacked Flash Player running on 64-bit Windows and got the highest system privileges, winning an additional prize of US$25,000 and bringing their total prize winnings to US$85,000.

The second contestant, Nicolas, the former No.1 member of the VUPEN team, won US$30,000, half of the basic prize. The payout ended up lower due to the random drawing — only the first successful entrant in each category is awarded the full payout.

Jihui Lu, the second researcher of the Keen Team, also did a good job. A joint team formed by him and Tencent PC Manager bypassed the PDF security protections in less than 60 seconds and also obtained the highest system privileges, winning a prize of US$55,000, increasing the total prize winnings of the Keen Team to US$140,000. Again, the payout ended up lower due to that Jihui was the second successful entrant as a result of the random drawing.

The Keen Team, a security research team of Shanghai-based Keen Cloud Tech, has participated in international hacking contests like Pwn2Own three consecutive times. From its first success to this year’s third consecutive win, it has become the world’s first security research team that has "pwned" both Apple and Microsoft desktop operating systems in just three years.

The Keen Team has demonstrated to the world again and again that their success is not accidental. Yiping Lv, COO of Keen Cloud Tech, described the rapid rise of the team: on the one hand, the members of our research team are all talents and elites in their respective fields as well as key security personnel from large international companies, and they have access to the world’s most state-of-the-art attack and protection technologies; on the other hand, it also depends on our research team’s firm persistence, and the discovery and exploit of a vulnerability is not as simple as one imagines.

The Pwn2Own contest is well-known for not having a theme. Its organizers attract top hacker teams from all over the world with an up to nearly one million dollar prize for attacking today’s most popular software products and applications in order to detect vulnerabilities and force the respective vendors to enhance product security.

Yiping Lv also analyzed the gap in security concepts between China and other countries. Some domestic vendors sometimes assume a negative attitude toward the research of safety vulnerabilities, whereas foreign technology giants have already improved their system software by organizing such contests.

With its increasingly stronger capabilities in security research, the Keen Team hosted GeekPwn, the world’s first event for security geeks with a focus on the security of the smart life, in Beijing in 2014, which was a big success.

With the success of the Keen Team, other security vendors in China have realized the importance of having an international focus. In addition to the Keen Team, another two security research firms, Tencent PC Manager and Qihu 360, also sent their teams to participate in the top international security contest for the first time. The joint team between Tencent PC Manager and the Keen Team won the first championship at this year’s hacking competition.

In addition to getting leading domestic information security vendors to participate, the Keen Team has also made every effort to cultivate the talents in information security. In 2014, it launched GeekPwn, a world-class security competition with the aim of providing an opportunity for domestic security talents to practice and gear up for international events, and 11 practice stations for GeekPwn were set up throughout the country including in Beijing, Wuhan and Shanghai, providing venues for information security fans to communicate and learn from each other.

The Keen Team is the sole co-organizer of XCTF, the national security technology competition in China, where as a mentor, it will share its experience and technologies with information security fans.

Keen Cloud Tech, a leading global provider of cloud computing and mobile security offerings, received the highest security honor from the security unit of the Tesla headquarters and has been the winner of the ZDI Platinum Award for exploiting computer vulnerabilities for four consecutive years. It is the security firm that has discovered the most CVE vulnerabilities in the world and is the only security research team in Asia that has joined Google’s Project Zero, a global group of top hackers.

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