Microsoft Throws in the Towel on Hacker Competition, Releases No Upgrades for Browser

The Pwn2Own challenge is a contest in which computer-security geeks and hackers face off in a race to hack their way into the four top browsers: Microsoft Internet Explorer, Apple Safari, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox. It's a chance for the Zero Cools of the world to flex their mouse muscles, and for software companies to see how their products stack up. Usually all the companies release a bevy of patches ahead of the competition to clean up their browsers, like poodles before a dog show. But while Apple, Mozilla, and Google each did exactly that, releasing dozens of security updates in the last few weeks, Microsoft didn't. Now why could that be?

PC Magazine reports that insiders think it's because Microsoft is pretty sure they're going to get Pwned.

Essentially, Microsoft thinks Explorer 8 can't stack up to the other browsers no matter what kind of security patches they put out, so they'd rather just feed it to the wolves now, and afterward hype the bejesus out of their new wolf-resistant Internet Explorer 9.

PC Mag:

There's been no indication as to why Microsoft's not making one last effort to plug security vulnerabilities within Internet Explorer 8. Pundits have suggested that the company might be waiting to see exactly what exploits and security flaws are uncovered by the various contestants in the annual contest, such that the company can more quickly address them post-Pwn.

The move--or non-move--comes just a few days after Microsoft launched a website that begs people to stop using Internet Explorer 6.

Google Chrome currently reigns supreme at Pwn2Own, which this year will give away $125,000 in cash and prizes.

Hacking into Internet Explorer 8 earns $0.

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