Securing Our Digital Future

Madeleine Albright, Tim Berners-Lee, Brad Smith and other leading thinkers on creating an international framework for peace, security and cooperation in the cyber world

A special report from   |  With support from

Part 1

What’s at Stake

As cyberspace has become the modern domain of human productivity, it has also become a place of conflict and risk. Cyberattacks increasingly threaten key infrastructure, and the damage can be catastrophic. Our essayists explain why a new domain demands new rules to ensure responsible behavior in cyberspace.

Brad Smith President of Microsoft

Envisioning Our Digital Future

This is a time in human history unlike any other. As the world proceeds through this period of digital transformation, we are rapidly uncovering the potential for technology to improve lives and address some of humanity’s greatest challenges. This has been especially apparent over the … read more

Peter Maurer President of the International Committee of the Red Cross

The Case for Cooperation in Cyberspace

In this exchange, Peter Maurer and Brad Smith discuss how digital technologies can help respond to humanitarian crisis and how international law can help safeguard cyberspace.In a world where authoritarian countries use cyber weapons to undermine the world’s democracies and human rights, it’s imperative that the international … read more

Johanna Weaver Associate professor at the Australian National University and formerly Australia’s lead cyber negotiator at the United Nations

“If a critical pipeline is not secured against ransomware, how can we expect to reliably verify that an adversary is not prepositioned on that pipeline for future attack? In this geo-strategic environment “trust me” does not cut it.”

Madeleine K. Albright 64th U.S. Secretary of State

Peace and Security in Cyberspace Must Top International Agenda

The 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly comes at a moment of dramatic change, not only in the international system but in basic conceptions of security. The COVID-19 pandemic showed how an invisible virus can cause massive human suffering and global dislocation. It also … read more

Izumi Nakamitsu Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs

Evolving Conflict in the Fifth Domain

Over the past years, concerns that cyberspace will be used as an arena for full-blown conflict have mounted as the scale and pervasiveness of cyber incidents increase. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has warned that the growing frequency and severity of cyberattacks are undermining … read more

Dapo Akande Professor of Public International Law and Co-Director, Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict, University of Oxford

Writing the Rulebook for Cyberspace

We are witnessing the normalization of global cyber insecurity. In the last few months, cybercriminals have used ransomware to disrupt the largest U.S. oil pipeline for six days, strike a global meat supplier and disrupt Ireland’s national … read more

Ajay Banga Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of Mastercard

Building a Joint Defense for the Digital Ecosystem

Today, technology and digitally enabled services are fundamental for businesses to operate and to provide the capabilities so many of us rely upon in our daily lives.  Moreover, technology and data are critical components for addressing major global issues, such … read more

Ron Deibert Professor of Political Science and Director of the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto
Stéphane Duguin Chief Executive Officer of the CyberPeace Institute

The misuse of offensive cyber capabilities infringes fundamental human rights, including privacy and freedom of expression, and threatens peace and human security by exposing individuals to persecution.

Stakeholders Must Work Together to Ensure Detection Technology Keeps Pace

Five years ago, computer scientist Hao Li in an optimistic TedX talk praised the limitless potential of computer-generated videos that replicate humans onscreen.  Four years later, Li struck a more ominous tone at the World Economic Forum in … read more

Will AI Embolden the Criminals or Can It Help Us Thwart Cyber Threats?

Would-be hackers — especially those backed by or working for adversarial countries — are learning how to amplify their attacks through machine-learning and artificial intelligence (AI). Backdoor poisoning attacks are on the rise as cybercriminals inject contaminated information into the … read more

The Cost of Inaction

Conflict in the Cyber Age

As digital connectivity grows, so does the global attack surface. This special report from FP Analytics highlights the escalation of state-sponsored cyberattacks and the urgent need for collective action to mitigate the mounting costs of cyberattacks and risks to human security.

Conflict in the Cyber Age

In the report

  • The Rise of State-Sponsored Hacking
  • Global State-Sponsored Cyberattacks
  • Cooperation Between State-Sponsored Attackers and Cybercriminals Elevates Security Risks
  • Cyber Incidents by Top State-Sponsors
  • Direct and Indirect Costs of State-Sponsored Attacks are Mounting
  • Global Risks and Estimated Costs of Cyberattacks on Power Plants
  • Current Cybersecurity Responses Are Insufficient to Deter Cyberattacks
  • Greater Multistakeholder International Collaboration on Cybersecurity Is Needed

Part 2

An Action Agenda

An effective global strategy for a rules-based order in cyberspace must ensure digital peace and security for everyone, but the path is not an easy one. In Part Two, our thought leaders explore ways to surmount these geo-political roadblocks.

An Action Agenda for Digital Peace and Security

Ensuring that countries behave responsibly in cyberspace demands that we rethink how we, as an international community, write our rules and resolve our disputes. We cannot simply hammer out a peace treaty by convening heads of state around a mahogany table to draw lines on … read more

Frédérick Douzet Professor of Geopolitics at the University of Paris 8

Systemic Threats Require a Systemic Response

The future of the cyber landscape looks pretty bleak. The past two decades have seen the proliferation of offensive tools and operations in cyberspace by state and nonstate actors. Organized criminals divert widely used technologies for profit and disruptive attacks. Cyber arms, offensive tools and … read more

Wolfgang Ischinger Chairman of the Munich Security Conference and Senior Professor for Security Policy and Diplomatic Practice at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin

Overcoming Transatlantic Digital Distrust

The world is in a competition for the best approach to harness technology and the digital economy. In particular, geopolitical competition between the United States and China and the prospect of what former CIA operations director Paul R. Kolbe called “an age of perpetual … read more

Tom Burt Corporate Vice President, Customer Security and Trust, Microsoft

A Public-Private Partnership in the Fifth Domain

Over the past year, cybersecurity incidents have again dominated global headlines, much like 2017 when the world faced the massive WannaCry and NotPetya attacks. Indeed, the current age of state-sponsored cyberattacks dates as far back as the Moonlight Maze incident in 1996, which involved … read more

Irene Khan UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression

Spreading false information to cause serious harm is not new. What is new is that digital technology has enabled pathways for false or manipulated information to be created, disseminated and amplified at a speed, scale and reach never known before.

Vowpailin Chovichien

Among the up-and-coming female cyber diplomats from emerging economies who attended the most recent round of the United Nations Open-Ended Working Group dialogue, Thailand’s Vowpailin Chovichien brought a resume that hardly fit the usual international relations mold. She has held … read more

Moliehi Makumane

During her first trips to New York City as part of South Africa’s permanent mission to the United Nations, Moliehi Makumane dreaded lunchtime. She spent her mornings in meetings at the UN headquarters building where older white men made up … read more

Mila Francisco

When Mila Francisco first entered the diplomatic corps in her native Chile in 2005, she didn’t feel like she was breaking any glass ceilings. At the time, women accounted for about half the people graduating from the Diplomatic Academy of … read more

Tupoutua’h Baravilala

Tupoutua’h Baravilala manages Fiji’s government information technology network, oversees islanders’ digital connections to one another and the outside world, and represents her country at high-level international conferences on cybersecurity. All at age 32. As acting permanent secretary for communications in … read more

Matt Masterson Policy Fellow, Stanford Internet Observatory

Four years ago, it would have been unthinkable to say politicians and their supporters would be working off the same playbook as foreign adversaries with the goal of discrediting our democracy. Unfortunately, this is where we find ourselves today.

Tim Berners-Lee Inventor of the web, co-founder of the World Wide Web Foundation

Protecting People From States

When I invented the World Wide Web, I imagined a universal, open space for people to connect, collaborate and learn, unconstrained by the national borders that divide the physical world. Fast forward 32 years, and, as governments adopt laws and regulations to meet the changes … read more

Marina Kaljurand Former Chair of the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace

Public-Private Cooperation, Political Will Must Drive Cyber Governance

We live in a polarized world in which political and ideological divisions directly affect the digital ecosystem, cybersecurity, and behavior of different actors in cyberspace. Some countries benefit from the advantages made possible by the digital revolution and take seriously the challenges that come with … read more

Gurmehar Kaur Global Ambassador for the Digital Peace Now Society

We are seeing an increase in conflict online coupled with flaring geopolitical tensions that endanger citizens, organizations and countries connected to the internet.

Six Key Takeaways for Countering Election Interference

The Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace sets out nine common principles (below) to promote responsible behavior for a secure and peaceful cyberspace. In 2020, the government of Canada, Microsoft and the Alliance for Securing Democracy committed to help implement the Paris Call’s … read more

Brad Smith President of Microsoft

Toward a Promising Chapter of Multistakeholder Diplomacy in Cyberspace

Thank you for taking the time to engage with this special publication. I hope it has been illuminating and provoked some new thinking about how we might work together to promote peace, security and human rights in our digital world. These are the qualities that … read more


Global Thought Leaders

FP Analytics and Microsoft have convened the world’s foremost authorities on cybersecurity and geo-politics to assess and explain how the international community can achieve cooperation, peace and security in cyberspace.