CybersecurityCambridge first year student wins U.K. Cybersecrity Challenge competition

Published 13 March 2012

Cyber Security Challenge U.K. announces a winner and unveils this year’s new Challenge program (open for registrations as of yesterday); the winner, Jonathan Millican, competed with thousands of registered candidates in 6-month competition

A new U.K. Cyber Security champion was announced yesterday at the Cyber Security Challenge U.K. awards in Bristol. Jonathan Millican, a first year university student originally from North Yorkshire currently studying at Cambridge University, and one of thousands of registered candidates, was awarded the accolade having successfully navigated his way through a series of 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 HPLabs and Cassidian, where his performance was judged to be the best of more than thirty finalists.

A Cyber Security Challenge release reports that Millican now receives his choice of reward from a collection of career-enhancing prizes which has grown in value 3-fold since last year to over £100,000 and includes 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.

Russ Taylor, a technician in the RAF, was the runner up.

Speaking at the 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. What’s important is that what I have learned through this process has not just come from undertaking the competitions but from the people I have met, both candidates and professionals that together have offered a fantastic insight into an industry within which I am now seriously considering a career.”

Keynote speaker at the ceremony, Jonathan Hoyle, director general for cyber security at GCHQ, the British intelligence service in charge of the country’s cybersecurity, said, “GCHQ are proud to be sponsoring the Challenge and are keen to assist in developing the cyber security talent pool for the benefit of the whole of the U.K. It is through initiatives such as this that organizations, 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.”

Millican is the Challenge’s second champion. Last year’s winner — Dan Summers, a postman from Leeds — found his award a catalyst for a change and quickly moved