The public, including young teenagers, are being encouraged to enter a competition to develop ways to promote cyber security.

The Cyber Security Challenge UK is a series of national competitions aiming to find talented people who can promote cyber security. The challenge is backed by industry players including HP, Sophos, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, RSA and Symantec.

As part of the challenge, a new ‘Can you talk security?’ competition, supported by BT and Get Safe Online, will test competitors' ability to communicate good security practices to others.

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

Cybercrime costs UK businesses billions of pounds a year, with a recent Cabinet Office survey estimating the annual cost at around £27 billion. Cyber Security Challenge UK says industry experts believe huge savings could be made across all sectors of the UK by improving awareness of basic good security practice.

Cyber Security Challenge UK says the competition aims to tackle "a critical and costly unawareness amongst UK small business owners and office workers about their vulnerability to cybercrime".

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.

Nigel Harrison, board member of Cyber Security Challenge UK, said: "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.”

Bob Nowill, director of cyber and information assurance at BT Security, said: “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 winning submission will be announced at BT Tower in London in November this year. Winners will then have the opportunity to work with a team of digital professionals and marketing experts who will launch the campaign nationwide.