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Biden meets with tech CEOs to ramp up cybersecurity across the US

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden met with several representatives from different companies, of whom can help with the influx of cybersecurity attacks, some of which have caused much disruption to the everyday lives of Americanssuch as the Colonial Pipeline incident. Google, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft are some of the large companies that have pledged to teach employees about cyberattacks and will be putting money towards the cause to ensure cybersecurity is strengthened across all areas. Some of the people present at the meeting, which took place at the White House, were Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, IBM CEO and Chair Arvind Krishna, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Amazon CEO Andy Jassy.

The limitations of the Biden administration’s ability to regulate a myriad of businesses means they are unable to roll out strict measures such as two-factor authentication in private networks. Mandatory data breach reporting requirements are set in place by the US government for sectors such as pipelines, but private companies need to take their own action to defend US networks.

"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 at the summit. "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."

Smaller businesses may lack the resources or knowledge of how to deal with cyberattacks and may not even understand the full reality of it if were to happen to them, which is where the pledges from the larger corporations come in.

Over 9,000 of Apple’s suppliers are in the US, and Apple will be working closely with these suppliers to adopt multi-factor authentication and better logging, which will possibly enhance the overall cybersecurity of their supply chain. They also pledge to provide new training in cybersecurity and incident response. Google have said during the summit that they will be training over 100,000 Americans within the next couple of years in data analytics and IT support, through their Career Certificate program, they will also be spending upwards of $10 billion on upping cybersecurity measures. Similar to the pledge Google made, Microsoft has said in the next five years it will be investing $20 billion towards cybersecurity initiatives, and also putting $150 million towards the support for state, federal and local governments to allow them to upgrade their security. Amazon has said it will be making all of the company’s employee security awareness training available to the public for free, and it will be offering a multi-factor authentication device of all users of Amazon Web Services for free. IBM will be offering a secure backup service to more businesses, which is already in use by many critical infrastructure operators.

A cyber-insurance provider, Resilience, has said it will put in place a requirement for customers to have the minimum security in order to get coverage. The National Institute of Standards and Technology will work together with Google, Microsoft and insurance industry companies -Travelers and Coalition- to design and new framework to help with the creation of more secure tech products and auditing of these products. Coalition will also be donating access to it’s cyber risk assessment platform to any organisation. Educational institutions such as the University of Texas and Girls Who Code will announce a new accelerated or minority-focused cybersecurity credentialing program.

The cybersecurity issues in the US have encouraged President Biden to issue an executive order in May to ramp up federal IT security. He has described the current state of cybersecurity a ‘core national security challenge’ and held the summit, which lasted hours, in the hope that companies across the states will realise this is a ‘call to action’ for the thousands of smaller business who may have difficulty with finding cybersecurity and the means to stomp out the attacks.

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