Big tech CEOs in reported cybersecurity White House meeting

By Laura Berrill
Amazon, Apple and Microsoft CEOs are reportedly to attend White House cybersecurity meeting

The chief executives from several big tech companies including Amazon, Apple and Microsoft are reportedly set to meet with President Joe Biden at the White House today to discuss cybersecurity.

All the big tech players

US news channel CNBC has confirmed that Amazon CEO Andy Jassy will be there, in details first reported by Reuters. On Monday, Bloomberg said Apple CEO Tim Cook and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will also attend.

Sources also told CNBC that IBM CEO Arvind Krishna also plans to attend the meeting. IBM has so far declined to comment, the same for Apple. A Microsoft spokesperson deferred comment to the White House, which also declined to comment on the record.

Tackling the growing threat of cyber crime

The meeting comes as the Biden administration has grappled with the growing threat of cyberattacks. Microsoft was among those impacted by the SolarWinds hack that affected several government agencies, Reuters reported last year. But that was just one of several recent breaches that have illuminated the urgent issues of cybersecurity. Others include the Colonial Pipeline hack and ransomware attacks that have impacted municipalities and health systems.

The White House first announced today’s meeting on cybersecurity last month, which Press Secretary Jen Psaki described as “a meeting with private sector leaders to discuss how we work together to collectively improve the nation’s cybersecurity.”

According to Bloomberg, Google’s CEO was also invited, but again, Google spokesperson deferred comment to the White House.

The meeting will also include executives outside of the tech sector, with invites including leaders of JPMorgan Chase and utility holding firm Southern Company, also according to Bloomberg. 

Importance of open conversations

It is believed that open communication with the private sector can prove particularly important in dealing with cyberattacks. After the SolarWinds hack, Microsoft President Brad Smith told lawmakers that the only reason the company knew of the extent of the attack was because computer security firm FireEye disclosed a sophisticated attack on its own systems.

Since then, Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, have introduced a bill that would require private-sector companies that work with the government, or provide critical infrastructure services, to disclose cyberattacks on their systems. The bill would also protect those companies from some possible negative impacts of reporting the breach, such as being sued by shareholders using the disclosed information as evidence.



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