Tech giants pledge billions in cybersecurity investments amid White House push

The steps were announced after President Joe Biden met with top execs of Google, Microsoft, IBM, Apple, Amazon and other companies and followed a rash of ransomware attacks.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook (left) and IBM CEO Arvind Krishna listen as President Joe Biden speaks at a meeting Wednesday at the White House on cybersecurity.

Apple CEO Tim Cook (left) and IBM CEO Arvind Krishna listen as President Joe Biden speaks at a meeting Wednesday at the White House on cybersecurity.

Evan Vucci / AP

WASHINGTON — Some of the country’s leading technology companies are promising to invest billions of dollars to strengthen cybersecurity defenses and to train skilled workers.

The Biden administration has been urging major corporations to do their part to protect against increasingly sophisticated attacks.

Before meeting privately at the White House in recent days with top tech CEOS, Biden called cybersecurity a “core national security challenge.”

“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, telling the tech leaders they “have the power, the capacity and the responsibility, I believe, to raise the bar on cybersecurity.”

The Washington gathering came amid a relentless stretch of ransomware attacks that have targeted critical infrastructure and major corporations as well as other illicit cyber operations that U.S. authorities have linked to foreign hackers.

After the meeting, the White House announced that:

  • Google committed to invest $10 billion in cybersecurity over the next five years to help secure the software supply chain and expand zero-trust programs.
  • Microsoft will invest $20 billion in cybersecurity over the next five years and make $150 million in technical services available to help local governments upgrade their defenses.
  • IBM plans to train 150,000 people in cybersecurity over three years.
  • Apple said it will develop a program to help strengthen the technology supply chain.
  • Amazon said it will offer the public the same security awareness training it gives its employees.

The Biden administration has been seeking ways to safeguard the government’s supply chain following a massive Russian government cyberespionage campaign that exploited vulnerabilities and gave hackers access to the networks of U.S. government agencies and private companies.

Though ransomware was intended as one aspect of the White House gathering, a senior administration official said the purpose was broader, centered on identifying the “root causes of any kind of malicious cyber activity” and also ways tha the private sector can help bolster cybersecurity..

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