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Following a meeting at the White House, Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and IBM promise to increase cyber security capabilities.

This week US President Biden met with private sector and education leaders to discuss what they call a “whole-of-nation effort” needed to address cybersecurity threats. Recent high-profile cybersecurity incidents, such as the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack, the SolarWinds software supply chain attack and an extensive hack on Microsoft Exchange servers demonstrate the presence of increasingly sophisticated malicious cyber activity.

The White House meeting this week was meant to obtain commitments from American tech giants to help defend against such attacks.

Microsoft sets a high bar – and others follow

Leading by example, Microsoft was quick to announce its plans to quadruple its investments in cybersecurity. The Redmond based software giant will increase its spending to $20 billion over 5 years, according to a White House statement and a Tweet from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

Google has also made a substantial commitment. In a blog post this week, Kent Walker, Google’s SVP of Global Affairs. promised to “invest $10 billion over the next five years to strengthen cybersecurity.” This includes “expanding zero-trust programs, helping secure the software supply chain, and enhancing open-source security.”

IBM committed to the training of 150,000 people in cybersecurity skills in three years and announced a new data storage solution for critical infrastructure companies, the report said. The company also said it would partner with Historically Black Colleges and Universities to further workforce diversification, and noted that it is currently working on encryption methods for quantum computing.

Amazon Web Services plans to roll out free multi-factor authentication devices to account holders and said it will offer “Security Awareness training” to organizations and individuals.

Apple announced it will establish a new program to drive continuous security improvements throughout the technology supply chain, according to the White House brief. As part of that program, Apple will work with its suppliers — including more than 9,000 in the United States— to drive the mass adoption of multi-factor authentication, security training, vulnerability remediation, event logging, and incident response.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Biden said, citing both ransomware attacks and his push to get Russian President Vladimir Putin to hold Russian-based cyber gangs responsible, and the need to fill nearly half a million public and private cybersecurity jobs.