The government has stepped up its drive to protect the UK's critical technology infrastructure by backing the creation of computer security and cybercrime information exchanges for businesses in Yorkshire and the North East.
The centres, known as Warps (warning advice and reporting points), allow businesses to share confidential information about risks, security breaches and successful countermeasures, and to receive tailored security alerts.
Another Warp announced by the government this week will allow home computer users to improve their PC security, reducing the risk that they could be used as staging posts for hackers attacking businesses.
The scheme, which is co-ordinated by the government's National Infrastructure Security Co-ordination Centre (NISCC) has attracted interest from the US and Holland, which are considering creating similar programmes.
"I would like to see widespread recognition of the value of Warps and for thousands of them to be in operation. There are enormous opportunities for communities to understand common issues and use Warps to improve security," said Steve Marsh, director of the government's central sponsor for information assurance.
Six Warps have been created since the concept was introduced in 2003, but more are expected to follow during 2005, particularly in local government.
"Warps have certainly started to have an impact in local authorities, which is where the first Warps have taken off. I would expect to see a lot more in the local authority sector in the next year or so," said a NISCC spokesman.