UK & World News
Web Stars Wage War Games To Win Jobs
The hunt is on to find the next generation of computer geniuses in the UK to join the fight against cyber crime.
Some of the country's finest computer brains gathered today at the offices of Sophos - an internet security company - for a cyber war game designed to fish out the most talented individuals.
Cyber security firms say it is becoming increasingly difficult to find the best computer minds because the teaching in schools and universities is not sophisticated enough.
The Cyber Security Challenge UK is designed to bypass the education system and spot raw talent and aptitude.
The challenge sees candidates taking on the role of forensics and defence specialists working for the UK Government.
For nearly three hours they encounter the nastiest creations of both cyber criminal gangs and nation states, as they run rampant in a virtual environment.
All of the attacks are based on real-life scenarios.
Candidates presented their findings to a judging panel and made recommendations on actions to be taken.
The most successful participants are likely to be offered jobs or bursaries that will help them forge a career in the industry.
It is thought computer "malware" poses one of the greatest risks to national security.
As many as 250,000 new viruses are unleashed on the internet every day, and 30,000 websites fall victim to malicious software every 24 hours.
Governments around the world - including the UK - are desperate to boost cyber capabilities in order to protect everything from banks to nuclear reactors, water purification plants to the national grid.
Online security expert James Lyne told Sky News: "Many of the successful candidates here today will likely go on to positions in banking, utilities or even national security.
"They will literally be on the frontline in the battle against nation states and cyber criminals.
"Armies of the future will be made up of brains like we have here today.
"Make no mistake, every country around the world is developing their cyber capabilities. It's effectively an arms race and the UK wants to lead the charge."
The Cyber Security Challenge UK is sponsored by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), The Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ), and Raytheon - a major defence contractor.