HONGKONG (SCMP.com) - The Avert (Anti-Virus Response Team) lab is a virus research and education program established by NAI's McAfee Anti-Virus division.
Yung Kai-tai, HKPC general manager for information technology, said the council would not have to pay for the Avert service, which has no expiry date.
"Our role will be much, much bigger than just a customer," he said.
Mr Yung indicated the council would use Avert's intelligence to educate local businesses and help isolate and combat new viruses. He added that the HKPC would not be able to develop a similar program on its own because it did not have the skills or resources.
Vincent Gullotto, United States director of Oregon-based Avert Labs, said the council would be treated as a paying partner in the venture.
"We give the HKPC priority as if they were a tier-one customer," he said.
This will mean the council gets direct access to Avert headquarters for information requests, virus alerts, check-ups and reports and anti-virus software.
However, Mr Yung said the deal was non-exclusive to NAI.
"We are going to work with private companies," he said. "We are not trying to be exclusive to any vendor."
Mr Gullotto said Avert intended to work as a resource for both local businesses and global anti-virus developers. "This is a first for Avert. We do not have another relationship like this in the area . . . Our view into Asia right now is really rather limited. Our goal is really to try to be an independent lab and to work more as a research lab."
Mr Gullatto said that although few viruses had ever originated within Greater China (the Taiwan-made CIH/Chernobyl virus being the most notable exception), local firms were still at an increasing risk due to the widespread use of the Internet.
Mr Yung said the Avert lab would help prepare for the launch of Hong Kong's first Computer Emergency Response Team later this year.
"The final approval is now being reviewed by the Government but I can see the approval coming soon," said Mr Yung, indicating the response team would probably be operated by the HKPC.