President Biden on Wednesday met with the heads of Amazon, Apple, Google and JPMorgan to discuss cybersecurity after a series of high-profile hacks that left businesses and the US government reeling.
Amazon’s Andy Jassy, Google’s Sundar Pichai, Apple’s Tim Cook and JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon met with Biden in the White House East Room.
“The federal government can’t meet this challenge alone,” Biden told the group. “We’ve got a lot of work to do and thank you very much.”
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, IBM chief Arvind Krishna and Tom Fanning, the CEO of utility giant Southern Co, also were present.
The tycoons joined the Biden administration’s recently confirmed National Cybersecurity Director Chris Inglis and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas.
Most of the meeting happened behind closed doors and topics were expected to include ransomware, critical infrastructure, supply chain security, cybersecurity education and data breach insurance policies.
A raft of hacks this year left US companies scrambling — including a T-Mobile data breach that affected 53 million customers, a hack of email accounts run by Microsoft that the US government says was a Chinese espionage operation and an attack on the Colonial Pipeline by suspected Russian criminals that caused gas shortages on the East Coast and led the company to pay an $4.3 million ransom.
The US government frequently engages with tech companies on cybersecurity, but Wednesday’s event also included representatives from the insurance industry.
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Insurance companies play an important part in covering damages associated with data breaches. Experts say that influencing the insurance market’s policies around cyberattacks could bring widespread improvements to cyber defense systems throughout the private industry.
“The increased use of cyber insurance over the last 10 years has been an unfortunate stimulant to ransomware gangs — it has encouraged more attacks as insured victims are often quite willing to rapidly pull the trigger on ransom payments knowing that they will be reimbursed by insurance,” Dmitri Alperovitch, chairman of the cybersecurity-focused think tank Silverado Policy Accelerator, told Reuters.