In an effort to find the best hidden cyber-security talent, BT and the Cyber-security Challenge UK staged a mock investigation into a cyber-attack at London's BT Tower last weekend.

Two dozen victorious candidates from online qualifying rounds were invited to compete against one another to discover how a fake company was hit with a cyber-attack. Candidates were given the task of tracking down the cyber-criminals of a data breach who had siphoned of money using unauthorised bank transfers, physical compromise, LAN intrusion and point of sale devices.

During the competition, the cyber-security talents showed off their abilities to prospective employers and qualified for the Challenge's grand final Masterclass competition, which will take place in November.

“The skills that candidates have shown at these competitions over the years has proved that there are a huge amount of untapped skill out there for us to access,” said Les Anderson, VP of cyber at BT.

BT's security team and others from top cyber-security enterprises monitored the competition and judged the candidates on how well they performed tasks in-line with industry best practice.

“Our events are designed to accurately represent the scenarios that cyber-security experts in the field experience on a day-to-day basis. The competition that BT has developed plays on current data breaches and hacking techniques and is designed to look for the skills that employers need today,” said Stephanie Daman, CEO of the Cyber-security Challenge UK.

(ISC)2 predicts a shortfall of 1.5 million workers by 2020 if current employment trends continue and it is critical that this is addressed in order to protect the infrastructure of the UK.