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19-year-old Cambridge student triumphs in UK Cyber Security Challenge

The UK has a new cyber security champ, and his name is Will Shackleton, a 19-year-old Cambridge student.

Shackleton triumphed amongst heated competition from 41 others in the final – and those had been whittled down from an original 3,000 or so would-be security gurus. He had to deal with a mock attack on the UK’s systems in order to scoop the prize.

According to the Inquirer, Shackleton said of his victory: “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.”

He added: “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.”

That summer internship, incidentally, is with Facebook.

Apparently Shackleton gets his choice of “career-enabling” prize, with some 90 training courses on offer, with an apparent value of £100,000. Other candidates get prizes, too, and past winners have been glowing in their praise of the courses and suchlike on offer.

One candidate from 2012 said: “The SANS prize is a really great prize, my plan was to use it towards the middle stages of the cyber challenge this year where I hoped I might be able to apply some of the skills to the upcoming competitions.”

You can apply for next year’s challenge already – head over to the website to do so.

Cyber Security Challenge UK noted on the site: “Cyber Security contains a diverse collection of disciplines across a broad spectrum of skills. You don’t necessarily need to be technical to be part of the industry; common sense, logic and the ability to identify and understand risk are all valuable assets. Each of our competitions address different skill sets, but usually all share the common themes of needing an investigative nature, ability to ‘think the unthinkable’ and generally pursue the end goal at all costs!”