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Cambridge University teen wins GCHQ hacking contest

Wins funding for Masters degree

The second annual UK Cyber Security Challenge has been won by Cambridge University student Jonathan Millican, 19, who emerged as the best all-rounder from the prestigious GCHQ-backed competition.

After several tough rounds over the last six months, the final Masterclass pitted 30 finalists against one another in challenges including defending an organisation against a simulated cyberattack.

Computer science undergraduate Millican was awarded the top spot with an RAF engineer, Russ Taylor, a close second.

Sponsored and judged by HP, PricewaterhouseCoopers, BT, QinetiQ and Cassidian and backed GCHQ itself, Millican wins sponsorship to do a Masters degree at academic tech hotspot, Royal Holloway, University of London.

The competition is seen as one way to draw attention to the major security problem of recent years, namely the lack of skilled, trained experts working in important parts of the public sector in particular. Until recently, the problem has tended to be seen as simply as a lack in the underlying technology rather that its practitioners.

Last year's competition was won by Wakefield postman Dan Summers, subsequently offered a job for the Royal Mail's infosec team.

"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," said GCHQ director general for cyber security, Jonathan Hoyle.

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