12/03/2012 08:21 GMT | Updated 12/03/2012 09:10 GMT

Jonathan Millican, 19, Wins GCHQ Cyber Security Champion Award

Here's a cyber security good news story, if you can handle it.

Jonathan Milican, a 19-year-old Cambridge university student, has won the GCHQ's Cyber Security Challenge with a judge remarking he had demonstrated knowledge "years beyond his time". Or knowledge beyond his years, to you and me.

Milican said: "I’ve never really thought about cyber security. The degree I’m currently undertaking in computer science was largely out of general interest in the subject. This award has acted as validation that I might have the skills to become a cyber security professional."

The Cyber Security Champion was named at an award ceremony in Bristol, after a six-month-long challenge designed to attract talented people to the web security and online defence industry.

4000 "good guy" hackers spent six months hunting malware, launching firewalls and repelling fake hacks attacks in a series of simulations to determine Britain's best defensive security minds.

Judy Baker, Director of the Challenge said: "Every new Challenge programme is designed to expand the opportunities on offer for non-professionals to build a career in cyber security. This is our most ambitious programme yet. It combines competitions, education opportunities, career enhancing experiences, a wealth of online guidance, and networking events to make the Challenge a valued source of information and learning about how to become a cyber security professional."

Former security minister Pauline Neville-Jones spoke about the lack of skilled workers in the online security field, saying: "The flow of people we have at the moment is wholly inadequate... which threatens the economic future of this country."

Winners don't just attract the attention of the world media, they also boost their career prospects with bursaries for university fees, paid internships with tech companies and professional memberships.

Cyber challenges never rest, so applicants for next year's awards are invited to enter now.