U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response and vaccination program during a speech in the East Room at the White House in Washington, August 18, 2021.
Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters
President Joe Biden will meet Wednesday with top executives from several of the largest companies in tech, financial services, insurance, energy and education to discuss how to combat cybersecurity threats.
The event comes after the U.S. experienced several large cyberattacks that have added urgency to the public and private sectors in containing such threats. Those incidents include the attack on software firm SolarWinds that impacted several government agencies and the Colonial Pipeline hack. The latter resulted in a gas shortage 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 more to discuss ways to improve U.S. cybersecurity, a senior administration official told reporters Tuesday. Members from Biden’s cabinet and national security team will also join the meeting before leading break-out discussions with executives from various sectors.
One of the three break-out sessions will include energy, water and financial services leaders in a discussion about “Critical Infrastructure Resilience.” The talks will be led by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.
A second will include tech and insurance leaders on “Building Enduring Cybersecurity” chaired by Department of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Small Business Administrator Isabel Guzman.
The third discussion will be among education leaders on “Cybersecurity Workforce,” led by National Cyber Director Chris Inglis.
On the call with reporters, the senior administration official said concrete steps for beefing up cybersecurity practices would come out of Wednesday’s event. The official emphasized the goal was to address “root causes” of the attacks, like vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure and 500,000 unfilled U.S. cybersecurity jobs.
The U.S. needs to move to a system where cybersecurity is built into all technology, the official said, suggesting that insurance providers could play a role in incentivizing businesses to keep up with good cybersecurity practices.
The Biden administration has undertaken several actions to address the growing cybersecurity threat. In May, Biden signed an executive order to strengthen government software security, mandate IT service providers to report attacks that could impact U.S. networks and streamline info-sharing. He later issued a memo directing federal agencies to take action to improve cybersecurity for critical infrastructure.
Here’s the full list of CEOs participating in Wednesday’s events, by sector:
Energy and Water
- Coalition CEO Joshua Motta
- Resilience CEO Vishaal Hariprasad
- Travelers CEO Alan Schnitzer
- Vantage Group Holdings CEO Greg Hendrick
- Code.org CEO Hadi Partovi
- Girls Who Code CEO Tarika Barrett
- Tougaloo College President Dr. Carmen Walters
- University of Texas System Chancellor JB Milliken
- Whatcom Community College President Dr. Kathi Hiyane-Brown