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UK Cyber Security Champion revealed
Written by staff reporter
A new UK Cyber Security Champion was announced yesterday at the Cyber Security Challenge UK Awards in Bristol. Stephen Miller, a 28 year old chemist from Hertfordshire beat thousands of registered candidates and successfully navigated several online and face-to-face competitions over the past year to claim the prize. Stephen currently works as a Lab Team Manager at a major pharmaceutical company overseeing the testing and manufacture of their clinical drugs. He has been playing the Challenge since it launched in 2010.
He now receives his choice of rewards from a collection of career-enhancing prizes worth over £100,000 that includes industry training courses and access to industry events. Alongside this there will be opportunities for paid internships and the offer of university bursaries.
The runner up was Steve Jarvis, 24 from Southampton, who works as part of the IT team for a hedge fund and again has had no formal cyber security training.
Speaking moments after receiving his prize the new champion said: “To have won the Cyber Security Challenge UK is amazing. It’s a result that gives me huge confidence to start applying this expertise to protect information and data in my own workplace. It’s also a powerful message to anyone who might question whether the Challenge is for them. I came to this competition in 2010 with no background in cyber security and yet my own interest in the area, coupled with the experience I have built up playing the Challenge competitions, has resulted in me winning the whole thing.”
Stephanie Daman, CEO, Cyber Security Challenge UK said: “Stephen’s success in the Challenge, as a chemist with no formal training in this profession, is a powerful demonstration of the hidden talent that exists in people from across all types of professional backgrounds. Identifying and nurturing this talent is vital for the success of UK PLC as even sectors as seemingly unconnected as pharmaceuticals contain vital intellectual property that must be protected. The Challenge exists not only to identify skilled people for the traditional security industry, but also serves to highlight to organisations the security skills within their own teams. We and then give those talented individuals confidence and exposure to professional training to improve the security practises of their own day-to-day operations.”
This year’s Masterclass was developed by the cyber security teams at HP and Cassidian Cyber Security. It saw 40 finalists take on the role of cyber professionals at a fictitious technology communications supplier to a Formula 1 racing team, who had been hacked in the lead up to a big race.
Candidates had to spot signs of malicious attacks and come up with the best solutions, both technical and policy based, to fix them. Despite the glamorous setting of motor sport, the competition was designed to be highly representative of real world issues facing professionals working in most sectors across industry and government.
Jonathan Bathurst, Cyber Lead, UK Public Sector at HP said: “To succeed in this competition and become the UK’s new cyber security champion, Stephen has had to demonstrate not only exceptional technical skills but also an ability to relate them to a common business scenario. This requires an ability to weigh up risk, take into account budgets and operational limitations and be able to present a coherent case to a non-technical audience with sensible measures that are in the best interest of the organisation for the future. It is this skill set that employers value highest of all and the competition was designed to identify.”
Roy Matthews, Cassidian Cyber Security’s Cyber Defence Lead said: “Whilst we wish Stephen all the best in his future and hope he finds the job to match his skills, we strongly believe that everyone who had the chance to play yesterday now better understands the reality of working in this industry. We hope is that they enjoyed tackling what they were faced with and will now make use of their undoubted talent by pursuing a career in this exciting sector.”