If there are more than five entries in the two contest categories, TippingPoint will also award additional US$5,000 prizes for Most Interesting Browser Flaw, Most Interesting Mobile Flaw, and Best in Show, Forslof said.
As during previous PWN2OWN contests, TippingPoint will reduce the difficulty of the challenge each day that a winner is not declared. "The first day the smartphones will be the raw metal," said Forslof, "so we'll be looking for network exploits, Wi-Fi, and so on. From that point, we'll open up the devices to the standard applications that come with the phone, but we won't install third-party applications or allow downloads."
A similar tack will be used for the browser competition; the first day will feature full-patched editions with default configurations. On the second day, TippingPoint will add a select group of third-party plug-ins, such as Flash Player.
TippingPoint will not publicly release details of the PWN2OWN bugs, but will instead report them to the vendor and use the information in its own security technology to preemptively block attacks.
The contest will start March 18 and run through March 20.