President Joe Biden and several of his Cabinet officials and advisers will meet with leaders from Silicon Valley, the water and energy sectors, the banking and insurance industries, and academic institutions on Wednesday to discuss shoring up the nation’s cybersecurity.
This summit, which will be attended by nearly three dozen people and scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, marks the Biden Administration’s most prominent engagement with private sector executives since the wave of ransomware attacks and other cyberattacks that targeted US businesses and critical infrastructure providers this year.
According to a senior administration official, the meeting will end with several announcements from both the US government as well as private organizations. Although the official did not give details, he stressed that concrete steps will be taken to strengthen the country’s cybersecurity. The shortage of cybersecurity talent in America has resulted in half a million jobs being unfilled in the sector, according to the official.
The official said that other announcements will be focused on improving the security of technology products to ensure that they are not “pushing” the cost of security to users. Other announcements could also highlight the administration’s recent achievements in securing critical infrastructure using tools that detect cyberattacks in real-time.
“This meeting will highlight both the magnitude of the problem we face and the opportunities we have,” an administration official stated, adding that all the attendees have “the power” to act immediately to improve cybersecurity in the country.
The Biden administration has had to confront the limitations of its authority in order to address the increase in cyberattacks. This problem affects many businesses that the White House can’t directly regulate.
The US government has established mandatory data breach reporting requirements in certain sectors, such as pipelines. It is also increasingly using its procurement power, to influence the cybersecurity practices federal contractors use. However, experts and officials claim that the White House does not have the authority to require more stringent measures, such as two-factor authentication for private networks.
The Biden administration tried to encourage the private sector to be proactive in defense of US networks.
The latest strategy is reflected in Wednesday’s summit. The meeting will feature Biden as the keynote speaker. After that, participants will be divided into groups by Cabinet officials, including Alejandro Mayorkas (DHS Secretary), Jennifer Granholm (Energy Secretary), Gina Raimondo (Commerce Secretary), and Isabella Guzman (SBA Administrator). National Cyber Director Chris Inglis will be joined by Anne Neuberger (Deputy National Security Advisor), National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, National Economic Council Director Jen Easterly, and Cedric Richmond, Office of Public Engagement Director Cedric.
These breakout sessions will focus on three areas: critical infrastructure resilience, cybersecurity talent, and workforce issues, and building stronger technology solutions and insurance solutions.