News Article

Cyber Security Challenge Masterclass 2015 crowns its new champion

Adam Tonks, 21, a computing student from Cirencester, beats 41 other finalists to win the title.


Cyber security challenge winner
Robert Hannigan, Director GCHQ, with the Cyber Security Challenge Masterclass 2015 winner Adam Tonks

News article - 19 Mar 2015

Adam Tonks, 21, a computing student from Cirencester, beat 41 other finalists to win Cyber Security Challenge UK 2015, after a 48-hour event which simulated a cyber terrorist plot in London.

As a platinum sponsor and long-time supporter of the Cyber Security Challenge UK, GCHQ partnered with them and a consortium of cyber experts, led by BT and including the National Crime Agency, Lockheed Martin, Airbus Group, PGI, C3IA and Palo Alto Networks, to put the next generation of the UK's cyber talent through their paces.

This year's finalists tackled the largest and most realistic cyber attack simulation yet run by the Cyber Security Challenge UK.

Located aboard the striking setting of HMS Belfast on the Thames, the contestants battled against the clock to thwart the activities of a fictitious cyber terrorist group, known as the Flag Day Associates.

Adam Tonks said, "I’m absolutely shocked but honoured to be the winner of this year’s Cyber Security Challenge. I’ve learned so much from the whole experience and although it’s been a gruelling few days, I’ve had a lot of fun working through every element that has been thrown at us by the UK’s best cyber professionals. I’m really proud of this achievement."

The Cyber Security Challenge Masterclass marked the culmination of a year of challenges designed to identify and inspire talented new recruits needed to address a critical skills shortage in the UK that affects government organisations, businesses and citizens alike.

From reducing the gap between the number of jobs and quality candidates, to improving understanding of current career pathways, the Cyber Security Challenge UK has been designed to support the objectives of the National Cyber Security Programme.

Robert Hannigan, Director GCHQ, said: "GCHQ recognises the important role of Cyber Security Challenge UK in attracting new talent into a growing, and much needed, cyber security profession. This year, as last, GCHQ has been a major contributor to the Masterclass. I am particularly pleased that one of the key players responsible for delivering much of the GCHQ technical content is a former Challenge finalist."


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