Announcing Microsoft Security’s #CyberContest
Published Jul 29 2020 04:08 PM 14.3K Views

The realm of cybersecurity is more than a combination of its technical components like hardware and software. It’s an industry that’s founded on the innovation and creativity of its practitioners—continually discovering better ways to protect our homes and our businesses.  


Historical Moments in Cybersecurity


Without creativity, many of the historical milestones in cybersecurity wouldn’t have been possible. The ingenuity of security and IT leaders has enabled us to not just communicate remotely around the world but securely communicate. Let’s take a short trip down memory lane to relive some of the industry’s evolutions: 


  • 870: Though door locks have been around for 4000 years (privacy is…key), the first all-metal lock came out of England.
  • 1959: Machine learning was first defined in the late 50s, and today we’re finding more and more applications of machine learning in cybersecurity, from intelligently blocking malware attacks to correlating events into incidents.
  • 1961: The first-ever password (Who wants to bet it was “1234”?) was created to secure a MIT computer. Now, more than 50 years later, we’re releasing passwordless technology like biometrics.
  • 1987: The first removal of a virus in the wild—Vienna Virus—happened in 1987. The creator of the virus was never identified, and though it was neutralized, it was used as a template for many complex variants over the years.
  • 1993: The first DEF CON conference was hosted in Las Vegas, naturally. Since its inception, the event has grown its attendance from 100 people to a whopping 30,000.
  • 1999: The first version of SSL was released in 1999. Over 20 years later, TLS has replaced SSL as the industry standard—fixing bugs and vulnerabilities which enabled attackers to gain access to personal information.


The 2000s have seen even more advancement as we continue to bring technologies—such as deep learning, decentralized identity, and biometrics—into our everyday lives. The goal: a safer world and more sci-fi-esque gadgets.


Celebrating Ongoing Improvement


It’s truly great to see how the community has continued to iterate and evolve the cybersecurity space. Over the next few weeks, we’re partnering with cartoonist Drew Dernavich from The New Yorker Magazine to capture the central role of creativity in security. Comment or direct message us on @MSFTSecurity with an example of how you used creativity to solve a security challenge and be entered to win a cartoon of your story! Don’t forget to use the hashtag #CyberContest.


Official Contest Rules




These Official Rules (“Rules”) govern the operation of the Microsoft Cyber Creativity Contest (“Contest”). Microsoft Corporation, One Microsoft Way, Redmond, WA, 98052, USA, is the Contest sponsor (“Sponsor”).




In these Rules, "Microsoft", "we", "our", and "us" refer to Sponsor and “you” and "yourself" refers to a Contest participant, or the parent/legal guardian of any Contest entrant who has not reached the age of majority to contractually obligate themselves in their legal place of residence. By entering you (your parent/legal guardian if you are not the age of majority in your legal place of residence) agree to be bound by these Rules. 




The Contest starts at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time (PT) on July 29, 2020, and ends at 11:59 p.m. PT on August 11, 2020 (“Entry Period”). 




To enter, you must be a legal resident of the 50 United States (including the District of Columbia), and be 18 years of age or older. If you are 18 years of age or older but have not reached the age of majority in your legal place of residence, then you must have consent of a parent/legal guardian.


Employees and directors of Microsoft Corporation and its subsidiaries, affiliates, advertising agencies, and Contest Parties are not eligible, nor are persons involved in the execution or administration of this promotion, or the family members of each above (parents, children, siblings, spouse/domestic partners, or individuals residing in the same household). Void where prohibited.




To enter


  1. Create a new account or use an existing account on Twitter (“Twitter”); and
  2. Follow @MSFTSecurity at;  and
  3. Submit your story one of two ways:
    • Post a publicly viewable message on Twitter that includes the hashtag #CyberContest and your story describing how you used technology to creatively solve a cybersecurity issue, or
    • DM your story to @MSFTSecurity on Twitter describing how you used technology to creatively solve a cybersecurity issue.

The story you submit will be your Entry.


All elements must be included to be eligible. If your account is private, your Entry will NOT be eligible; you must change the setting on your account from private to “public” or “unprotected”. The Twitter platform will be the official time clock for the Contest.


This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by, or associated with, Twitter. You understand that you are providing your information to the Sponsor and not to Twitter. The information you provide will only be used for administering the Promotion and to contact you if you are a winner.


The entry limit is one per person overall.


Any attempt by any you to obtain more than the stated number of entries by using multiple/different accounts, email addresses, identities, registrations, logins, or any other methods will void your entries and you may be disqualified. Use of any automated system to participate is prohibited. 


We are not responsible for excess, lost, late, or incomplete entries. If disputed, entries will be deemed submitted by the “authorized account holder” of the email address, social media account, or other method used to enter. The “authorized account holder” is the natural person assigned to an email address by an internet or online service provider, or other organization responsible for assigning email addresses.




To be eligible, an Entry must meet the following content/technical requirements:


  • Your Entry must be your own original work; and
  • Your Entry cannot have been selected as a winner in any other contest; and
  • You must have obtained any and all consents, approvals, or licenses required for you to submit your Entry; and
  • To the extent that Entry requires the submission of user-generated content such as software, photos, videos, music, artwork, essays, etc., entrants warrant that their Entry is their original work, has not been copied from others without permission or apparent rights, and does not violate the privacy, intellectual property rights, or other rights of any other person or entity. You may include Microsoft trademarks, logos, and designs, for which Microsoft grants you a limited license to use for the sole purposes of submitting an entry into this Contest; and
  • Your Entry may NOT contain, as determined by us in our sole and absolute discretion, any content that is obscene or offensive, violent, defamatory, disparaging or illegal, or that promotes alcohol, illegal drugs, tobacco or a particular political agenda, or that communicates messages that may reflect negatively on the goodwill of Microsoft.




We are not claiming ownership rights to your Entry. However, by submitting an Entry, you grant us an irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide right and license to use, review, assess, test and otherwise analyze your Entry and all its content in connection with this Contest and use your Entry in any media whatsoever now known or later invented for any non-commercial or commercial purpose, including, but not limited to, the marketing, sale or promotion of Microsoft products or services, without further permission from you. You will not receive any compensation or credit for use of your Entry, other than what is described in these Official Rules.


By entering you acknowledge that the we may have developed or commissioned materials similar or identical to your Entry and you waive any claims resulting from any similarities to your Entry. Further you understand that we will not restrict work assignments of representatives who have had access to your Entry and you agree that use of information in our representatives’ unaided memories in the development or deployment of our products or services does not create liability for us under this agreement or copyright or trade secret law.


Your Entry may be posted on a public website. We are not responsible for any unauthorized use of your Entry by visitors to this website. We are not obligated to use your Entry for any purpose, even if it has been selected as a winning Entry.




Pending confirmation of eligibility, potential prize winners will be selected by Microsoft or their Agent or a qualified judging panel from among all eligible entries received based on the following judging criteria:


  • 50% - It must meet the contest guidelines including how and what to submit.
  • 50% - It must be a unique, creative approach to a cybersecurity challenge, including finding new ways to unearth threats or encourage proper security hygiene across the business. The creativity must also be human-led. The goal is to show that human creativity is equally as important as technological advancement in cybersecurity.


Within 7 days following the Entry Period winners will be selected from among all eligible entries received. In the event of a tie between any eligible entries, an additional judge will break the tie based on the judging criteria described above. The decisions of the judges are final and binding.  If we do not receive a sufficient number of entries meeting the entry requirements, we may, at our discretion, select fewer winners than the number of Contest Prizes described below. If public vote determines winners, it is prohibited for any person to obtain votes by any fraudulent or inappropriate means, including offering prizes or other inducements in exchange for votes, automated programs or fraudulent i.d’s. Microsoft will void any questionable votes.


Winners will be notified via the contact information provided during entry no more than 7 days following judging with prize claim instructions, including submission deadlines. If a selected winner cannot be contacted, is ineligible, fails to claim a prize or fails to return any forms, the selected winner will forfeit their prize and an alternate winner will be selected time allowing. If you are a potential winner and you are 18 or older, but have not reached the age of majority in your legal place of residence, we may require your parent/legal guardian to sign all required forms on your behalf. Only three alternate winners will be selected, after which unclaimed prizes will remain unawarded. 




The following prizes will be awarded:


Three First Prize: Each winner will receive a recognition of achievement when New York Times published cartoonist will render their idea into a cartoon drawing, available as a digital download to the public following the Contest. 


We will only award one (1) prize per person during the Entry Period. No more than the stated number of prizes will be awarded. No substitution, transfer, or assignment of prize permitted, except that Microsoft reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value in the event the offered prize is unavailable. Prizes are awarded “AS IS” with no warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including but not limited to, the implied warranties or merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, or non-infringement. Prizes will be sent no later than 28 days after winner selection. Prize winners may be required to complete and return prize claim and / or tax forms (“Forms”) within the deadline stated in the winner notification. Taxes on the prize, if any, are the sole responsibility of the winner, who is advised to seek independent counsel regarding the tax implications of accepting a prize. By accepting a prize, you agree that Microsoft may use your Entry, name, image and hometown online and in print, or in any other media, in connection with this Contest without payment or compensation to you, except where prohibited by law.


  1. ODDS


The odds of winning are based on the number and skill of eligible entries received.




To the extent allowed by law, by entering you agree to release and hold harmless Microsoft and its respective parents, partners, subsidiaries, affiliates, employees, and agents from any and all liability or any injury, loss, or damage of any kind arising in connection with this Contest or any prize won.


All local laws apply. The decisions of Microsoft are final and binding.


We reserve the right to cancel, change, or suspend this Contest for any reason, including cheating, technology failure, catastrophe, war, or any other unforeseen or unexpected event that affects the integrity of this Contest, whether human or mechanical. If the integrity of the Contest cannot be restored, we may select winners from among all eligible entries received before we had to cancel, change or suspend the Contest.


If you attempt or we have strong reason to believe that you have compromised the integrity or the legitimate operation of this Contest by cheating, hacking, creating a bot or other automated program, or by committing fraud in any way, we may seek damages from you to the full extent of the law and you may be banned from participation in future Microsoft promotions. 




Personal data you provide while entering this Contest will be used by Microsoft and/or its agents and prize fulfillers acting on Microsoft’s behalf only for the administration and operation of this Contest and in accordance with the Microsoft Privacy Statement.




This Contest will be governed by the laws of the State of Washington, and you consent to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of the courts of the State of Washington for any disputes arising out of this Contest.  

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‎Jul 29 2020 04:17 PM
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