Big tech mucks in on US cybersecurity

Microsoft and Google pledge $30 billion to bolster homeland security; Amazon, Apple and IBM also offer support.

Ken Wieland, contributing editor

August 26, 2021

2 Min Read
Big tech mucks in on US cybersecurity

A string of American companies said they will help both the US public and private sector against "increasingly sophisticated malicious cyber activity."

The commitments were framed by the White House as a consequence of a meeting between President Joe Biden and US big tech, although no doubt the nuts and bolts were worked out beforehand.

Among the details to emerge are that Microsoft will invest $20 billion in cybersecurity developments over the next five years, while Google is to stump up $10 billion to "expand zero-trust programs, help secure the software supply chain, and enhance open-source security."

Google's involvement includes training 100,000 Americans over the next three years to earn "Google Career Certificates" in cybersecurity fields.

Microsoft said it will immediately make available $150 million in technical services to help federal, state and local governments with upgrading security protection.

Apple, IBM and Amazon willing helpers

Apple, too, is pitching in. It's going to establish a new program to "drive continuous security improvements throughout the technology supply chain." As part of that program, Apple will work with its suppliers – including more than 9,000 in the US – "to drive the mass adoption of multi-factor authentication, security training, vulnerability remediation, event logging, and incident response."

IBM also said it will train 150,000 people in cybersecurity skills over the next three years, and partner with more than 20 Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) to establish Cybersecurity Leadership Centers to grow a more diverse cyber workforce.

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Amazon announced it will make available to the public – at no charge – the security awareness training it offers its employees. Moreover, it pledges to make available to all Amazon Web Services account holders – again, at no additional cost – a multi-factor authentication device to protect against cybersecurity threats like phishing and password theft.

The collegiate approach to US cybersecurity comes against a backdrop of an extremely ambitious cyber-espionage campaign, linked to Russia, which infiltrated several US government agencies last year.

The affected agencies include the US Department of Treasury and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which oversees telecom policy and is part of the Commerce Department.

The hacking campaign made use of a vulnerability in SolarWinds' Orion platform, which many government agencies and large companies use to monitor and manage their networks.

— Ken Wieland, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Ken Wieland

contributing editor

Ken Wieland has been a telecoms journalist and editor for more than 15 years. That includes an eight-year stint as editor of Telecommunications magazine (international edition), three years as editor of Asian Communications, and nearly two years at Informa Telecoms & Media, specialising in mobile broadband. As a freelance telecoms writer Ken has written various industry reports for The Economist Group.

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