Postman crowned first UK Cyber Security Champion

Cyber Security Challenge

A postman from Wakefield has been announced as the UK's first ever Cyber Security Champion.

At the conclusion of the inaugural Cyber Security Challenge UK, Dan Summers took the top prize going home with a range of career-enhancing rewards worth around 6,000.

Summers took the prize after beating 25 other contestants who were competing in Bristol over the weekend.

"This was the most intense and rewarding experience of my life," Summers said.

"Having met the people in the industry and seeing how capable and welcoming they are, I'd love to work alongside them so I'll be looking closely at all the opportunities that have developed as a result of my involvement with the challenge."

Stuart Rennie, who is just 17 and still in school, was named runner-up and awarded a host of prizes on the day.

Rennie had already been handed a variety of cyber security training courses and complementary exam entries prior to being named runner-up, having been involved in two other winning teams.

The youngster was part of Team Bombe, which won the Masterclass event, in which challengers were tasked with carrying out the duties of a security team at a small and medium-sized business.

Rennie was also a member of Team Glitch, which won the small networks team challenge earlier in the year alongside two other school students.

A Government boost

The award ceremony in Bristol on Sunday concluded almost a year's worth of hard work by the organisers.

The competition, designed to help plug the notable security skills gap in the UK, was announced last year.

The organisers were rewarded for their efforts as security minister Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones announced an additional 180,000 worth of funding from the Government for next year's event.

The competition will still need an extra 350,000 for it to work effectively, Neville-Jones admitted.

"We can now look forward to growth of the Cyber Crime Challenge," she said.

"It's been 10 months since the challenge was created... Could we make it a success? I think it jolly well has been one."

She stressed cyber security was central to the UK's future, even though she admitted the 650,000 Government investment into the sector was "not revolutionary."

"I really do want to stress the Government puts this at the centre of its priorities," she added.

"Part of the long-term vision is that this country needs to increase the quality and quantity of cyber security professionals in this country."

As for next year, the organisers announced a new brand for the competition, ditching the Union Flag of old in favour of a more modern design.

The competition has been refreshed as well, with some new challenges, including a strand focusing on 'informed security.'

A new website will also appear on 28 March, when registration opens up for the second competition.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.