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UK cyber experts call for creative ideas to teach security to small businesses and save billions of pounds for UK PLC

Published: 26/04/12

  • BT and Get Safe Online unveil new Cyber Security Challenge UK competition to design a nationwide awareness campaign to help keep small businesses in the UK safe from cyber crime
  • ‘Can you talk security?’ will also identify people with the creative communication skills in high demand by the cyber security profession
  • A video launching the competition is available here

A new competition launched today by the Cyber Security Challenge UK, BT and Get Safe Online aims to tackle a critical and costly unawareness amongst UK small business owners and office workers about their vulnerability to cybercrime. Can you talk security? asks the public to come up with ways to communicate technical security issues in a simple and non-technical way – so that everyone can understand them and take the necessary precautions to secure themselves online. The competition also hopes to identify a new generation of creative communicators who can move into cyber security where their skills are in high demand.

Cybercrime costs UK businesses billions of pounds a year, with a recent Cabinet Office survey estimating the annual cost at around £27 billion. Globally this estimated annual figure rises to $338 billion with 19 people across the world becoming a victim of online crime each second. Whilst this represents a significant technical challenge for the UK’s cyber security professionals to overcome, industry experts believe huge savings could be made across all sectors of UK PLC by improving awareness of basic good security practise.

Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online, said: “When it comes to cyber security, billions of pounds are at stake each year, and cyber criminals are looking to take advantage of every new piece of technology, whether it’s a device, an app, or a software programme.  A few simple measures will help internet users ensure they are able to enjoy the maximum benefits of the internet for a minimum risk, and we’re excited to be supporting the Cyber Security Challenge UK where anyone is challenged to talk about cyber security in a creative and fun way.”

Dr Bob Nowill, Director Cyber & Information Assurance, BT Security, said: “Cybercrime is a major issue for UK industry and must be tackled from two angles. We believe that the combination of cyber experts and professionals supported by new talent identified by initiatives like the Cyber Security Challenge will help to strengthen and improve our technical defences. However, we must also help educate the wider population on the role they need to play – that is what this competition is all about.” 

“It only needs one brilliant idea to resonate with people across the country to make a huge difference to their own security and the UK’s as a whole.” 

The Cyber Security Challenge UK is a series of national competitions aiming to find talented people for, and raise awareness of, increasing job opportunities in cyber security. Currently in its third programme of competitions, Can you talk security? is the Challenge’s first to test competitors ability to communicate  good security practise to others rather than whether they can secure networks themselves.

Nigel Harrison, Board member of the Cyber Security Challenge UK, said: “The Challenge has always listened to employers to gauge the types of skills they are struggling to find and ensure our competitions identify the most relevant candidates. Whilst the more technical-focused roles continue to lack applicants in the numbers employers want, the cyber security profession is hugely varied with a number of different job titles covering a surprisingly wide range of skills sets. Creative communicators might not seem an obvious requirement for a cyber team, but the need to communicate technical security issues in a way that can be understood by members of the public, employees and decision-makers in boardrooms is extremely important.”

Can you talk security? is open to anyone over 14 years old* to demonstrate innovative ways of explaining the risks cyber threats pose to small and medium sized businesses and the simple steps they can take to protect themselves. Entries could be in the form of a viral video, a poster, a game or anything which can positively alter people’s online habits.

The winning submission will be announced at the BT Tower in November 2012 at the BT Tower. Winners will then have the opportunity to work with a team of digital professionals and marketing experts who will launch the campaign nationwide.

*Terms and condition apply – see notes to editors

More information

1.       Entrants for Can you talk security? must be over 14 or over. There are two categories, individuals and teams and each is split into three age groups: under 17, 18-24 and over 25. There will be one overall competition winner.  There will also be one first prize per age group in the individual and team categories.

Each entrant must sign up to the UK Cyber Security Challenge and competition terms and conditions before entry.  Terms and conditions can be found on the Cyber Challenge website.

2.       For more information please click on this link:


3.       Timeline for Can you talk security?

  • Thursday 26th April: official launch at InfoSec;
  • Friday 22nd June: entry deadline;
  • End August: finalists announced;

  November – awards dinner at BT Tower with announcement of winners

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