What will cybersecurity look like in 2025?, Part 1: The catalysts that will shape the future

Cybersecurity challenges are emerging not just from the commonly recognized sources – criminals, malware, or even targeted cyber-attacks – they can grow from public policies as well.

A research report we released last month, Cyberspace 2025: Today’s Decisions, Tomorrow’s Terrain, seeks to look over the horizon and beyond technical trends to anticipate future catalysts for change as well as equip policy makers for tomorrow’s digital landscape.

Our research forecasts that by 2025, two billion new Internet users will come online, for a total of 4.7 billion people online. Nearly 75 percent of these Internet users will hail from emerging economies. During the same period, social and demographic trends, such as the growing need for a highly-skilled workforce and increases in aging populations, will create new layers of challenge for policymakers already grappling with societal dependence on the Internet.  For example:

  • Internet users in the EU will reach 466 million by 2025, representing a 25 percent jump. However, BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) countries will grow to 2.1 billion internet users—a 142 percent increase.
  • The percentage of the EU population using the Internet will grow from 74 percent in 2012 to 90 percent in 2005. By comparison, BRIC countries rise from 30 percent to 67 percent of the population over the same time period.
  • Mobile Internet subscriptions in the EU will nearly double (91 percent increase).
  • STEM graduates in the EU are expected to increase by 64 percent, however total R&D spending will only increase by 15 percent.

The below Infographic illustrates some of these trends:

Cyberspace 2025 explores the impact these trends will have on cybersecurity by creating three global scenarios—Peak, Plateau, and Canyon—that could emerge in the next 10 years as a result of technology and social policy decisions addressing important global issues. Stay tuned as I plan to explore each of the three scenarios, as well as some of the implications for policy.

Tim Rains
Trustworthy Computing

About the Author
Tim Rains

Chief Security Advisor, Microsoft Worldwide Cybersecurity & Data Protection

Tim Rains is Chief Security Advisor of Microsoft’s Worldwide Cybersecurity & Data Protection group where he helps Microsoft’s enterprise customers with cybersecurity strategy and planning. Formerly, Tim was Director Cybersecurity & Cloud Strategy in Trustworthy Computing at Microsoft, where he Read more »