Google and Microsoft pledge major cybersecurity spend following White House meeting

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Some of the world's leading technology companies, including Google and Microsoft, have earmarked billions of dollars to help raise the cybersecurity stance of the industry as a whole following a meeting with US President Joe Biden.

Earlier this week, the President met with CEOs from over two dozen companies from various sectors, ranging from insurance to IT, to solicit their help in beefing up cybersecurity efforts.

The meeting comes in the wake of several high-profile cyberattacks, such as the SolarWinds supply-chain attack and the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack, which exposed the country’s vulnerability to well-orchestrated campaigns by remote threat actors.

“Cybersecurity is a national security and economic security imperative for the Biden Administration and we are prioritizing and elevating cybersecurity like never before...The purpose of today’s meeting was to discuss opportunities to bolster the nation’s cybersecurity in partnership and individually,” read a statement from the White House.

Private-public partnership

The meeting follows a string of steps the Biden administration has taken in order to rein in the threat of cyberattacks. In addition to setting up a cybersecurity task force, the administration has also asked law enforcement agencies to treat ransomware attacks no different from terrorist attacks.

“When it comes to cybersecurity, collaboration between the private and public sectors isn’t a nice-to-have but a need-to-have. The relationships and partnerships between private and public need to be as strong as possible,” Marcus Fowler, Director of Strategic Threat at security company Darktrace tells TechRadar Pro.

A couple of months ago, US National Security Council's chief cybersecurity adviser, Anne Neuberger, wrote an open letter urging the private sector to treat ransomware attacks as “a threat to their core business operations rather than a simple risk of data theft,” shortly after Biden issued an executive order outlining steps for software vendors.

The latest meeting is a more direct engagement. 

“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,” President Biden remarked at the meeting.

Realigning priorities

Following the meeting, all invited companies have announced various initiatives to help bolster the cybersecurity stance of the wider industry.

As a direct result of the meeting, Microsoft, Google, IBM, and others have agreed to collaborate with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop guidelines for building secure software as well as for vetting the security of existing software, including open source software. 

Google has pledged to invest $10 billion in the next five years to expand its zero-trust initiatives, and help secure the software supply chain. 

Microsoft, on the other hand, has committed to spending twice that amount over the same period to accelerate initiatives to bake cybersecurity into its software design methodology and deliver more comprehensive security solutions.

Several companies, including Microsoft and Amazon, have also earmarked millions of dollars to help train a whole new generation of cybersecurity defenders, while helping their public and private sector customers roll out improved security solutions.

Mayank Sharma

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.