Cyberspace 2025 Student Essay Contest

Posted by: Kevin Sullivan, Principal Security Strategist, Trustworthy Computing

When Sam Coxwell submitted his entry to last year’s Microsoft cybersecurity essay contest, he was focused on one thing, winning.  His entry “Cybercrime: Why does it pay, and what can we do about it?” centered on the future of cybersecurity policy research.  It was one of 48 entries we received from students around the world researching the complexities that impact cybersecurity policy.

Today, we’re kicking off this year’s contest, the  Cyberspace 2025 Essay contest.  This year, we want to hear from University students who are conducting original research on how they see the future of cyberspace.  The inspiration for this topic comes from our recently published paper, Cyberspace 2025: Today’s Decisions, Tomorrow’s Terrain, where we consider the impact that such factors as demographics, education, immigration, regulation, technology, collaboration, and even trade will have on the future landscape of cyberspace and cybersecurity. Additionally, the report showed that even in a borderless internet, countries and regions can be on different paths depending on policy choices. If policy makers could see into the future, could it better inform their decision making today?  Microsoft believes that identifying and implementing the right public policies today, can significantly impact a country’s or region’s cyberspace tomorrow.

Cybersecurity is a policy priority for many governments, yet there is limited understanding of how policy choices made today, will impact a country’s cyberspace tomorrow.   Its why Microsoft’s Global Security Strategy and Diplomacy (GSSD) team works on a variety of research projects like Cyberspace 2025, in addition to collaborating with students at top Universities, like the University of Washington’s Jackson School of International Studies who are applying complex theories and classroom study to contemporary issues to broaden the understanding of the global policy landscape.

If you, or a student you know, have conducted or plan to conduct such research, enter our Cyberspace 2025 essay contest for a chance to win a $5,000 cash prize.*  We want to know your predictions for the future of cyberspace.  What will be the main issues at stake?  Who will be making cybersecurity policies and how?

Our judges will look for the submission/entry to address one or more of the questions below. Preference will be given to responses that integrate quantitative analysis using publically-available cybersecurity data, such as Microsoft’s Security Intelligence Report (SIR):

  • What will be the priority cybersecurity issues in 2025?
  • Who are the priority stakeholders in securing cyberspace (e.g. industry, governments, NGOs, etc.)? What new entrants may there be? How will their roles evolve over the next decade?
  • What should be the primary objectives of these stakeholders? How will conflicting objectives, such as national versus international policies be reconciled?
  • What are the priority actions that stakeholders should take to improve cybersecurity by the year 2025?
  • What impacts will ensuring—or failing to ensure—cybersecurity have on societies and economies in the year 2025?

For Sam, his entry resulted in more than prize money. “After graduating I landed a job with the Ontario government, and part of my portfolio is working on an e-commerce strategy for the province.”

We look forward to hearing from future cybersecurity policy leaders on how they would tackle these challenges. To enter, visit the Microsoft Cyberspace 2025 Student Contest web page for all the details.  Entries must be received by 11:59pm PDT on January 15, 2015.

*For more information, including official rules of the contest, please visit:

About the Author
Kevin Sullivan

Principal Security Strategist, Trustworthy Computing

Kevin Sullivan is a Principal Security Strategist with Microsoft’s Global Security Strategy and Diplomacy team, part of Trustworthy Computing, which focuses on driving strategic change to advance security and resiliency, both within Microsoft and externally. Kevin leads the group’s efforts Read more »