We are excited to announce the 2020 Pwnie Award Winners!
All of the incredible pwns and owns that have been reviewed for the 2020 iterration of the Pwnies can be found here.
Do not fret, we have not discarded your submissions (in the event you didn’t happen to see your submission). You, in fact, will be heard out – we will be continuing to accept nominations for the next awards ceremony. The year may be coming to an end, but the pwnage certainly is not. So, have at it, continue to submit your noms for 2021!
pwnie for best server-side bug
Awarded to the researchers who discovered or exploited the most technically sophisticated and interesting server-side bug. This includes any software that is accessible remotely without using user interaction.
pwnie for best client-side bug
Awarded to the researchers who discovered or exploited the most technically sophisticated and interesting client-side bug.
pwnie for best privilege escalation bug
Awarded to the researchers who discovered or exploited the most technically sophisticated and interesting privilege escalation vulnerability. These vulnerabilities can include local operating system privilege escalations, operating system sandbox escapes, and virtual machine guest breakout vulnerabilities.
pwnie for best cryptographic attack
Awarded to the researchers who discovered the most impactful cryptographic attack against real-world systems. A Pwnie Cryptography Award should represent a meaningful break in a system actually deployed. The attack can require a math Ph.D to understand its workings, but not to understand its impact, and it can’t require a data center in Utah to exploit.
pwnie for most innovative research
Awarded to the researcher or team who published the most interesting and innovative research in the form of a paper, presentation, tool or even a mailing list post.
pwnie for lamest vendor response
Awarded to the vendor who mis-handled a security vulnerability most spectacularly.
pwnie for most under-hyped research
Like good magicians our industry will put a lot of razzle dazzle on the problems we can sell a solution for. But what about the things that are DONTFIX, can’t be scanned for, but are still amazingly cool and high impact? We (as an industry) sweep them under the rug and then they get caught in the UNDERHYPED pwnie awards!
pwnie for most over-hyped bug
Awarded to the researcher/team who discovered a bug resulting in the most hype on the Internets and in the traditional media. Extra points for bugs that turn out to be impossible to exploit in practice.
pwnie for most epic fail
This award is for the defenders who dared to wonder, “What could possibly go wrong?” For the investors who happily departed with eight-figure checks for a pitch presenting snake oil served over word salads on a fool’s gold platter. For the infosec vendors who adopted defense-by-deception as a marketing strategy. This award will honor a person or corporate entity’s spectacularly epic fail – the kind of fail that lets the entire infosec industry down in its wake. It can be a singular incident, marketing piece, or investment – or a smoldering trail of whale-scale fail.
pwnie for epic achievement
Awarded to the researchers, attackers, defenders, executives, journalists, nobodies, randos, or trolls for pulling off something so truly epic that we couldn’t possibly have predicted it by creating an award category that did it justice.
pwnie for best song
What kind of awards ceremony does not have an award for best song? What can we say, security researchers, engineers, and the entire community can be considered a “multi-talented” group of people.