Best Scientific Cybersecurity Paper Competition

About the Competition

In order to encourage the development of the scientific foundations of cybersecurity, the National Security Agency (NSA) established The Annual Best Scientific Cybersecurity Paper Competition. NSA invites nominations of papers that show an outstanding contribution to cybersecurity science. A set of Distinguished Experts will review the nominations according to the criteria below. Awardees will be invited to NSA to receive the award and present the winning paper to an audience of cybersecurity experts.

Winning Paper

11th Annual Best Scientific Cybersecurity Paper Competition Winners

The eleventh NSA Competition for Best Scientific Cybersecurity Paper recognizes the best scientific cybersecurity paper published in 2022. Papers were nominated between January 15, 2023 through April 15, 2023. The winning paper was, “Uninvited Guests: Analyzing the Identity and Behavior of Certificate Transparency Bots” authored by Brian Kondracki, Johnny So, and Nick Nikiforakis Stony Brook University. Read More

Nominations & Eligibility

Nominate a Paper

Papers published in peer-reviewed journals, magazines, or technical conferences are eligible for nomination. The date of the publication must be between January 1st 2023 and December 31st 2023. Nominations include, in 500 words or less, a nomination statement describing the scientific contribution of the paper and explaining why this paper merits the award. A strong nomination statement is desired and will be used as part of the criteria when evaluating paper submissions. Nominated papers must be available in English and pdf format. Nominations must be submitted via this site. The nominator may not be an author or co-author of the nominated paper. If a paper includes a reviewer as a co-author it may not be considered for an award. Papers may come from any field of cybersecurity research. (Please refer to What is Security Science?)

For a set of potential sources for paper nominations, please see: To suggest additional sources, please email .


A set of distinguished experts will review the submitted nominations and provided individual assessments to the NSA Research Directorate.

The following individuals will serve as distinguished experts for the 12th Annual Competition:

DR. EVAN AUSTIN, Naval Research Laboratory
DR. CARRIE GATES, Bank of America
DR. VIRGIL GILGOR, Carnegie Mellon University
DR. PAUL KOCHER, Independent Researcher
DR. SEAN PEISERT, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
DR. ARUN VISHWANATH, Cybersecurity Advisor
DR. LAURIE WILLIAMS, North Carolina State University
MS. MARY ELLEN ZURKO, MIT Lincoln Laboratory

Distinguished Expert Emeritus
DR. WHITFIELD DIFFIE, Cybersecurity Advisor

For additional information on the review team.

The NSA Research Directorate recommended awardees to the NSA Director of Research, whose decision is final. Considerations in the evaluation of the nominated paper may include:

Scientific merit and significance of the work reported, the degree to which the paper exemplifies how to perform and report scientific research in cybersecurity.


Submission Period Begins: January 15, 2024
Submission Period for Entries Ends: April 15, 2024 AOE
Evaluation Process for Entries Begins: April 20, 2024
Winners Notified: By October, 2024
Winners Announced: Fall 2024

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