Security competitors McAfee and Symantec (SYMC) put down their swords to join co-founders Fortinet (FTNT) and Palo Alto Networks (PANW) as additional founders in the Cyber Threat Alliance, making a formidable quartet to line up against the growing incidence and severity of cyber crime.

The companies pledged to coordinate their efforts against hackers, going beyond exchanging malware samples to collaborate on threat intelligence and share potential intrusion information. The participants vowed their amped-up alliance will offer better actionable data on possible threats, including “information on zero-day vulnerabilities, botnet command and control (C&C) server information, mobile threats and indicators of compromise (IoCs) related to advanced persistent threats (APTs).”

Ken Xie, Fortinet chairman and chief executive, said “the combination of each of these leading technology vendor's observations, insights and solutions will significantly increase the alliance's construct and effectiveness."

As a group, Fortinet, McAfee, Palo Alto Networks and Symantec each promised to set aside resources to identify the most effective way to share advanced threat information to improve their collaboration and to bring the rest of the industry along with them.

Customers will see the results of the collaborators’ efforts through improved security, the member companies said.

The timing of the fortified alliance between the four security titans comes in the wake of the latest high-profile data heist, this one at some 2,000 Home Depot stores following earlier cyber break-ins at Target, P.F. Chang and others.

"We must match our adversaries' aggressive drive to innovate with our own deeper commitment to collaborate,” said Vincent Weafer, McAfee senior vice president. “It's no longer enough to share and compare yesterday's malware samples. As an industry, we need to understand and be poised to react to the latest complex and multidimensional attacks of today and tomorrow. This cyber alliance provides a critical framework for educating each other on the infrastructure and evolving tactics behind these attacks."

Mark McLaughlin, Palo Alto Networks president and chief executive said “shared intelligence and collaboration is instrumental in combating today's most sophisticated cyber criminals, “ and Adam Bromwich, Symantec Security Technology and Response vice president, praised the importance of “working together to thwart the next generation of cyber attacks.”