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Apple, IBM and insurance CEOs offer to partner with White House to address cyber challenges

On Wednesday, the White House will host an event that will bring together the largest U.S. tech companies to discuss cybersecurity issues following a string of high-profile hacking incidents earlier this year, people familiar with the event told Reuters.

This comes as Congress is weighing new legislation on data breach notification laws and cybersecurity insurance industry regulation, which have historically been seen as two of the most important policy areas in this area.

The guest list included Amazon CEO Andy Yassi, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and IBM CEO Arvind Krishna, according to two people familiar with the event.

Another said topics of discussion would include ransomware, critical infrastructure, supply chain security, cybersecurity training, and data loss insurance.

Executives from energy company Southern and financial giant JPMorgan Chase are also expected to attend, Bloomberg previously reported.

One of the people familiar with the event said that participating companies will publicly declare their commitment to better IT security measures and additional staff training.

The event will be attended by senior officials from the Biden administration, including the newly appointed Director of National Cybersecurity, Chris Inglis, and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Majorcas, who will hold various interviews with industry representatives.

While the White House has been continuously engaging the private sector on potential new cybersecurity regulations for several months, the event scheduled for Wednesday is unique in that it includes the insurance industry, according to three people familiar with the event.

According to them, the event will be attended by the CEO of the company Travelers Companies, which deals with property and accident insurance, Alan Schnitzer.

Insurance companies play an important role in recovering data breach losses. Experts argue that influencing the insurance market’s cyberattack policies could lead to widespread improvements in cyber defenses across the private industry.

“The increase in the use of cyber insurance over the past 10 years has been an unfortunate incentive for ransomware gangs – it has contributed to an increase in the number of attacks, as insured victims are often quite willing to pull the ransom trigger, knowing that they will be reimbursed by insurance,” said Dmitry Alperovich, chairman Silverado Policy Accelerator.

Ransomware locks down an infected computer system, usually interrupting the work of employees or customers, until the hackers are paid for the extortion.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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