Amateur cybersleuths have been hunting malware, raising firewalls and fending off mock hack attacks in a series of simulations supported in part by Britain's eavesdropping agency. The games are intended to pull badly needed talent into the country's burgeoning cybersecurity sector, according to former security minister Pauline Neville-Jones, who spoke at a closing ceremony Sunday at the Science Museum in the English port city of Bristol.

"The flow of people we have at the moment is wholly inadequate" to staff three new cybercrime units and the military's recently opened global cyberoperations center. The skill gap "threatens the economic future of this country," she said.

The Cyber Security Challenge is intended to help bridge that gap, drawing thousands of participants who spent weeks shoring up vulnerable home networks, cracking weak codes and combing through corrupted hard drives in tests designed by companies such as U.K. defense contractor QinetiQ and data security firm Sophos. The challenge was supported in part by British intelligence agency GCHQ and Scotland Yard's e-crimes unit -- a sign of the government's concern with supporting a rapidly developing field. The competition was closed to cybersecurity professionals, so many of the 4,000-odd participants -- such as the 19-year-old winner, Cambridge University student Jonathan Millican -- are aspiring computer scientists. Others are engineers or hobbyists. Further Information Jenrick IT has become a leading source of career advice for SC and DV Cleared IT Professionals, after being regularly seen at exhibitions such as the SC Expo and the DSEi London, and the experienced consultant team are able to open up a series of security and defence job opportunities for IT professionals. For more information please call Jenrick IT on (01932) 245 500 and ask to speak with the SC and DV Recruitment Team. Source: