May 21, 2022

US Private Sector Leaders Commit to Combat Cyberattack Concerns

The US President Joe Biden hosted a meeting on Wednesday with chief executives of top private companies to combat the rising cybersecurity concerns in the country. In his meeting, he described cybersecurity as a “core national security challenge” and addressed high-profile cyberattacks that disrupted the US economy. Following the meeting, private sector leaders pledged to ramp up the technological efforts.

In the long-hours summit, the giants committed to working toward setting up new industry standards, deployment of security stools, and upskill the workforce to address the cybersecurity issues. This was not the first initiative of the president to protect the nation against cyberattacks. In May this year, he signed an executive order to set up new software tools and add multi-factor user verification.

This order was issued after a cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline, which in turn, disrupted the oil supply pipeline in the country. This was not the only attack that was witnessed by the US. Government software company SolarWinds was also one of the targets of the cyberattack.

“We’ve seen time and again how the technologies we rely on, from our cell phones to pipelines, the electric grid, can become targets of hackers and criminals,” Biden said in his opening remarks of the meeting. During the meeting, the CEOs of sectors, including the electric grid, banking and insurance, and academic institutions were present wearing the mask. “You have the power, the capacity, and the responsibility, I believe, to raise the bar on cybersecurity,” he said. The White House said that giants will partner with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NSIT) to set up new guidelines to build technology, tools, and open-source software.

The Commitment from the Private Leaders

After the meeting, big techs such as Google, Microsoft, IBM, and Apple committed to training hundreds of people to fill up the cybersecurity jobs in the US. Moreover, NSIT will partner with insurance companies Travelers and Coalition and tech giants to create a framework to develop more secured software products.

“The reality is, most of our critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector, and the federal government can’t meet this challenge alone,” Biden said during the meeting. “So I’ve invited you all here today because you have the power, the capacity, and the responsibility, I believe, to raise the bar on cybersecurity.”

The search engine giant Google said that it will invest USD 10 Billion over five years to improve cybersecurity and train 100,000 US-based citizens in IT support and other technical fields through its Career Certificate Program. Moreover, it has committed to strengthening the software supply chain and open source software security. While Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella said through a tweet that the company will invest USD 20 Billion over five years to deploy more advanced software tools. He added that Microsoft would pump USD 150 Million to help the government agencies to upgrade their system.

Another big tech IBM committed to training 150,000 people in the cybersecurity field and partner with universities to hire people of color, which helps it to have a diverse workforce. The company announced that it is building a data storage solution for infrastructure companies. Moreover, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced that it will offer free multi-factor authentication to its users and run a “Security Awareness Training” across companies.

The White House said that Apple will create a program to improve cybersecurity across its supply partners by telling them to use multi-factor authentication. Around 9,000 suppliers of Apple are located in the US. The academic institutions’ University of Texas and Girls Who Code also announced that they will cybersecurity credentialing programs.

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and National Cybersecurity Director Chris Inglis were present during the meeting. After the meeting JP Morgan Chase CEO, Jamie Dimon said that it was a “a very productive, collaborative discussion.” While Satya Nadella said that “brought together the right set of folks to have a good discussion.”