A 19-year old student has been named as the fourth winner of the UK Cyber Security Challenge.
An University of Cambridge student, Will Shackleton, was announced the winner after completing the 48 hour cyber defence battle which was described as an evolving, sustained cyber attack on UK national security, that brought whole industries to a halt and put the lives of UK citizens in danger.
Designed by experts from BT, GCHQ, the National Crime Agency, Juniper Networks and Lockheed Martin, and during two days of gameplay, finalists worked in teams to investigate and nullify a determined enemy whose campaign of virtual terror struck first within London’s financial district.
The masterclass was created by BT’s Rob Partridge, who said he was impressed with the blend of technical and professional skills on show. “It’s difficult to underestimate the importance of having both professional and technical skills to succeed in the cyber security industry; that’s what we set out to test at Masterclass and that is why we created such a realistic scenario. It’s therefore deeply impressive how well candidates did,” he said.
“No one would have been out of place on the real cyber frontline. BT has created its Security Academy to specifically address development in these areas. We want our people to be equipped with the best skills to react and remediate threats similar those to the ones we have seen over the past two days of intense simulation. It’s really important that BT has the right people with the right skills both for our protection and for the protection of our customers and the public.”
Shackleton, who develops mobile apps in his spare time, and recently secured a Summer internship at Facebook, beat over 3,000 entrants and 41 fellow finalists, selected during 12 months of online and face-to-face cyber battles to uncover the cream of UK amateur cyber talent. He now receives his choice of rewards from a collection of 90 career-enhancing prizes worth over £100,000 including valuable industry training, university courses and access to strategic industry events.
He said: “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.
“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.”
Stephanie Daman, CEO, Cyber Security Challenge UK said: “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. 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.”
Registration for the next Cyber Security Challenge open today, more information here https://cybersecuritychallenge.org.uk/registration/.