President Joe Biden delivers a speech in the East Room of the White House in Washington on Jan.
Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters
President Joe Biden will meet with top executives from several of the largest technology, financial services, insurance, energy and education companies on Wednesday to discuss ways to address cybersecurity threats.
The event comes after the US witnessed several major cyberattacks that made the public and private sectors more urgent in containing such threats. These incidents include the attack on software company SolarWinds, which affected multiple government agencies, and the Colonial Pipeline hack. The latter led to gas shortages in some parts of the country.
Biden plans to meet with CEOs from Amazon, Apple, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Travelers, PG&E, Girls Who Code, and others to discuss ways to improve U.S. cybersecurity, a senior administrative official told reporters on Tuesday. Members of Biden’s cabinet and national security team will also attend the meeting before having breakout discussions with executives from various sectors.
In one of the three break-out sessions, leading energy, water and financial services companies will discuss the topic of “Resilience of Critical Infrastructures”. The talks will be led by Minister Alejandro Mayorkas of the Ministry of Homeland Security and Energy Minister Jennifer Granholm.
A second will include technology and insurance leaders on Building Enduring Cybersecurity, chaired by Minister of Commerce Gina Raimondo and Small Business Administrator Isabel Guzman.
The third discussion will be among educational leaders on the Cybersecurity Workforce, led by National Cyber Director Chris Inglis.
Speaking on the call with reporters, the senior administration official said the event on Wednesday would reveal concrete steps to strengthen cybersecurity practices. The official stressed that the aim is to address the “root causes” of the attacks such as vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure and 500,000 vacant US cybersecurity jobs.
The US must move to a system where cybersecurity is built into all technology, the official said, suggesting that insurance providers could play a role in incentivizing companies to keep up with good cybersecurity practices.
The Biden government has taken several steps to address the growing cybersecurity threat. In May, Biden signed an executive order to strengthen government software security, engage IT service providers to report attacks that could affect US networks, and streamline information sharing. He later issued a memo instructing federal agencies to take steps to improve cybersecurity for critical infrastructure.
Here is the full list of CEOs attending Wednesday’s events, broken down by sector:
Energy and water
- Coalition leader Joshua Motta
- Resilience CEO Vishaal Hariprasad
- Travelers CEO Alan Schnitzer
- Greg Hendrick, CEO of Vantage Group Holdings
- Code.org boss Hadi Partovi
- Girls Who Code CEO Tarika Barrett
- Tougaloo College President Dr. Carmen Walters
- University of Texas Systems Chancellor JB Milliken
- Whatcom Community College President Dr. Kathi Hiyane-Brown
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WATCH: How the massive SolarWinds hack went down