US President Joe Biden, senior administration officials and private sector leaders will meet in Washington today to discuss ways to improve American cybersecurity practices.
The meeting comes amid a surge in ransomware attacks and a need to defend critical infrastructure by strengthening public-private sector cooperation on cybersecurity. As these talks take place, the White House is currently dealing with the fallout of a cyberattack on the country’s largest fuel pipeline and is confronting two cybersecurity threats, one from the Chinese government and another from Russia-based criminal syndicates.
By offering financial incentives and engaging in deepened inter-sector collaboration through information sharing and baseline security standards, Washington seeks to incentivize the private sector to act.
The chief challenge for the US government in addressing cybersecurity, however, is a lack of authority to mandate changes. Because almost 90% of the country’s critical infrastructure is run by the private sector, expect any new initiatives to be mostly voluntary. Therefore, lacking regulation enforcement and mandates, expect any announced initiatives to fail to combat ransomware growth. In the long-term, expect the administration to push Congress into pursuing legislative options that would require some companies to report cyberattacks to the government and improve information sharing efforts.
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Camilo is an analyst for the Current Developments Team and a regular contributor to the Daily Brief. He specialises in soft power and public diplomacy issues, with a particular focus on Latin America and Chinese influence in the region.