THE UK has crowned its Cyber Security champion, Will Shackleton.
Shackleton, who is 19 and has already earned an internship at Facebook, beat 3,000 entrants and 41 fellow finalists to emerge at the top of the competition, according to organisers, and is a very worthy winner.
Naturally, he was happy to receive the gong for having cracked through a challenge set by BT, GCHQ, the National Crime Agency, Juniper Networks and Lockheed Martin.
"It's a big surprise and a huge honour. I never considered a career in cyber security before taking part in the Challenge but playing their competitions and meeting the industry leaders has shown me there are exciting jobs which need filling," said Cambridge student Shackleton. A Cambridge student also won the competition in 2012.
"I'm convinced security is an area I want to pursue and I can't wait to take what I have learnt from the Challenge into my university studies and summer internship, and eventually into a job where I can do this stuff for real."
As the winner Shackleton gets to choose from an attractive mix of prizes, 90 options apparently. These are worth as much as £100,000 and include industry training and university courses.
"Over the past three days we have given our candidates the most authentic experience of a what a real cyber attack will look and feel like ever created for civilians in the UK. We have put them in the situations they can expect to experience as full time professionals. They have all done incredibly well to get here and the quality of skills on show is amazing," said Stephanie Daman, CEO of Cyber Security Challenge UK.
"What is most impressive it that none of these finalists are cyber professionals already, the majority of them are self-taught. It's a real demonstration that the hidden talent is there to be discovered in every corner of the UK - we just need to find it."
Next year's challenge looks to be even bigger and apparently has a multi-headed, multi-threat opponent called The Flag Day Associates lined up to take down. µ