A TEENAGE UNIVERSITY STUDENT has been crowned as the UK cyber security champion after winning a series of challenges posed by the government intelligence outfit GCHQ.
Jonathan Millican, 19, a Cambridge first year student beat thousands of other competitors to be crowned the UK's "cyber super hero" at the Cyber Security Challenge UK Awards in Bristol yesterday.
Haling from North Yorkshire, Millican was awarded the accolade after successfully completing online and face-to-face competitions over the past six months. To reach the winner's podium he had to demonstrate a range of technical, communication and leadership skills at this weekend's Challenge Masterclass grand final, designed by HP Labs and Cassidian. The Masterclass was a simulation of a company experiencing security challenges in which finalists have to identify the problem, identify the solution, and sell it to the company's decision makers.His performance at this contest was judged to be the best of more than 30 finalists.
As the winner Millican can take his choice of reward from a collection of prizes worth £100,000, including bursaries for university places, internships at private companies, industry training courses, access to industry conferences, and membership to professional bodies such as the National Skills Academy for IT.
Speaking at the awards ceremony Millican said, "I've never really thought about cyber security. The degree I'm currently undertaking in computer science was largely out of general interest in the subject. This award has acted as validation that I might have the skills to become a cyber security professional."
Jonathan Hoyle, director general for Cyber Security at GCHQ added, "It is through initiatives such as this that organisations, be they in the public or private sector, can continue to develop and maintain our leading edge in cyberspace by being able to recruit the right people with the right skills."
Russ Taylor, a technician in the RAF, was runner-up.
Millican is the Challenge's second champion. Last year's winner - Dan Summers, a postman from Leeds - quickly moved from delivering the post to keeping it safe when he was asked to become part of Royal Mail's cyber security team.
The Cyber Security Challenge UK new programme is already open for registrations today. µ
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