Security failures in new technologies and educational shortcomings in information security: results from the Standoff IT Security Scholarship Program

The writers of the best essays on information security were awarded USD 1,000

The Standoff IT Security Scholarship Program is intended to encourage and support students working towards a degree in fields related to computer security. Any undergraduate or graduate student obtaining a degree related to information security is invited to participate in the program.

Through the November 14 deadline, students were asked to submit English-language essays with a length of up to 1,000 words on any of several topics. These topics included analysis of information security risks implied by new technologies, evaluation of current organizational approaches to cybersecurity, reflections on the shortcomings of training programs in information security, and an invitation for novel ideas on how to bring the field of IT security to a new standard of reliability and efficiency. So long as they remained within the boundaries of these topics, participants were not restricted by requirements regarding style or form.

After thoroughly studying and discussing all submitted materials, our jury has selected two winners: Sergey Kirsanov and Valeria Kozlova. Among the reasons cited for the jury's decision were Kirsanov and Kozlova's particularly creative approaches taken to the topics presented in the prompts.

Writing on the topic of organizational shortcomings in IT security, Sergey Kirsanov highlighted the lack of close interaction between information security specialists and PR services: "PR services don't always correctly and competently react to the incidents and leaks published in the media. It's much more reasonable to do this when information security specialists, together with the PR service, prepare press releases in advance and stipulate the procedure for action in a case of the most common incidents," Kirsanov wrote. He also highlighted the lack of proper communication between competing companies: "Communication between them is limited by competition, but we mustn't forget that a competitor is not an enemy, and it's quite possible to make an ally out of him."

Valeria Kozlova devoted her essay to the topic of digital intelligence (DI) and its positive and negative impacts on society and security, as well as to the importance of digital intelligence as a complement to, but not a substitute for, human intelligence: "The more intensively the technology develops, the less privacy and independence people will have. It is so easy for the mankind to get involved into all this dependency on machines, that we will not have any choice but to accept whatever they decide. Technological singularity (machines make machines, DI develops DI) is very possible. And at this point our intellectual development will stop as we will be unable to understand what is happening."

We thank all the participants for their input and congratulate the winners!