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: Biden tells CEOs to ‘raise the bar on cybersecurity’; Big Tech pledges billions

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President Joe Biden on Wednesday urged top CEOs from the tech sector and other industries to do more to improve cybersecurity, as he hosted a meeting with them at the White House on the issue.

“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 start of the meeting.

“I’ve invited you all here today because you have the power and the capacity and the responsibility, I believe, to raise the bar on cybersecurity. And so, ultimately, we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

The participating chief executives included Apple’s
AAPL,
-0.84%

Tim Cook, Microsoft’s
MSFT,
-0.20%

Satya Nadella and Amazon’s
AMZN,
-0.20%

Andy Jassy, who took over last month from Jeff Bezos. Alphabet’s
GOOG,
+0.39%

GOOGL,
+0.58%

Google, IBM
IBM,
+0.01%
,
ADP
ADP,
,
JPMorgan Chase
JPM,
+2.06%
,
Bank of America
BAC,
+1.62%
,
TIAA, U.S. Bancorp
USB,
+1.46%
,
ConocoPhillips
COP,
+1.10%
,
Duke Energy
DUK,
+0.22%
,
PG&E
PCG,
+0.11%
,
Southern Co.
SO,
+0.21%
,
Williams
WMB,
-0.20%

and Travelers
TRV,
+1.21%

also were expected to be among the companies with CEOs taking part.

Washington is trying to respond to an ongoing barrage of cyberattacks. This year has brought high-profile incidents such as the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack that led to gasoline
RBU21,
-0.08%

shortages in the Southeast, and the massive SolarWinds
SWI,
-0.45%

hack that affected the networks of multiple government agencies and corporations.

Microsoft on Wednesday said it will invest $20 billion over five years to speed up its cybersecurity work and will make available $150 million in technical services to help federal, state and local governments keep their security systems up to date.

The Biden administration also announced a number of steps, including efforts to strengthen the security of the nation’s natural-gas pipelines. Apple announced a new program to help bolster the security of the technology supply chain, Google committed $10 billion on security efforts that include digital-skills certifications for 100,000 American workers, and IBM said it will train 150,000 people in cybersecurity skills, focusing on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Cybersecurity initiatives were also announced by companies such as Amazon, Resilience and Coalition; organizations such as Code.org and Girls Who Code; and educational partners such as the University of Texas and Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash.

Now read: Can Biden really protect Americans from the next crippling cyberattack?

After the president’s discussion with the CEOs, the executives and some educators had been due to participate in separate meetings with other administration officials, covering “Critical Infrastructure Resilience,” as well as “Building Enduring Cybersecurity” and the “Cybersecurity Workforce.” 

U.S. stocks
SPX,
+0.22%

closed higher at new records on Wednesday.

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