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The FBI has recruited IBM and more than 500 other US companies to a scheme designed to combat cybercrime.

The idea of InfraGuard is to enable the FBI and member firms to alert others about Internet attacks and to pool information on how systems might protected from crackers.

Bloomberg reports that the FBI is pushing the scheme because hacking incidents are on the rise and increasing in severity.

"Building bridges between law enforcement and the public and private sector is one of the most important ways we can protect ourselves from these threats," US Attorney General Janet Reno told a Washington news conference.

The InfraGuard program involves the creation of a secure Web site through which member companies can exchange information about suspicious activity or best practices. The site will support encrypted email and, according to Bloomberg, will allow users to alert the FBI about intruders "either anonymously or with detailed information".

Leaving aside whether companies can be confident that information submitted will remain anonymous, InfraGuard has several limitations as a scheme that will provide anything like a comprehensive defence against cyber-attacks.

As it stands law enforcement agencies can help companies only when they become victims of hackers, and it's unrealistic to expect to resolve the consequences of attacks after they happen. Also, firms are notoriously shy of disclosing when they are hacked, not least because such candour might affect a firm's share price. ®

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