The president invited a number of Big Tech CEOs to the White House to discuss the country's efforts to combat cybersecurity threats amid a slew of cyberattacks on U.S. companies and government entities in recent months, including the State Department, the Colonial Pipeline, JBS, Electronic Arts and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
"Most of our critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector, and the federal government can't meet this challenge alone," Biden said during a Wednesday press briefing.
He then addressed his guests including Apple CEO Tim Cook, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and others, saying they "have the power, the capacity and the responsibility…to raise the bar on cybersecurity" and help fill 500,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs.
Biden touted his efforts to improve the nation's cybersecurity since he took office, including a 100-day initiative to strengthen the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure in the U.S., which prompted 150 electric utilities serving about 90 million Americans to commit to adopting new security technologies.
He also brought up his June summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying he made clear that he would hold Russia accountable for cyberattacks on U.S. entities linked to Russian hackers.
The president was criticized after the summit, however, for his decision to list 16 critical U.S. infrastructure sectors that Russian cyberattacks should not target after a Russian ransomware group called Darkside shut down the Colonial Pipeline – though Russia denies its involvement.
Finally, Biden brought up his administration's efforts to launch a task force aimed at cracking down on hackers responsible for ransomware attacks.
"Today, my team is hosting a meeting, bringing together … 30 nations to step up their fight against ransomware," he said.
The president then met privately with the CEOs to discuss matters further.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said later during a press conference that the Biden administration has "made clear" that it expects "private sector companies to report when they have experienced a cyber breach."
"…Our view has long been that it is a combined responsibility of the federal government to put in place clear guidelines — clear best practices — and the private sector to take steps to harden their own cybersecurity," she said.