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Google and Microsoft pledge $30 billion to fight cyber crime 

By Shannon Williams, Mon 30 Aug 21

Microsoft and Facebook have pledged to invest $20 billion and $10 billion respectively in the fight against cyber security and fraud within the next five years.

The news comes after the chief executives of both tech giants met with United States president Joe Biden last week to discuss measures to strengthen the country's cyber ecosystem. 

Other top executives from tech firms were also in attendance, including those from IBM, Apple and Amazon.

The meeting with the US president came after a stretch of several ransomware attacks targeting critical infrastructure and major companies. Biden himself has referred to cybersecurity as a “core national security challenge” for the United States.

“The reality is most of our critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector, and the federal government cannot meet this challenge alone,” he said. 

“I’ve invited you all here today because you have the power, the capacity and the responsibility, I believe, to raise the bar on cybersecurity.”

On Twitter, Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella wrote, “Thank you @POTUS for convening a critical conversation on cybersecurity.

“Microsoft will invest $20 billion to advance our security solutions over the next five years, $150 million to help US government agencies upgrade protections and expand our cyber security training partnerships," he said.

Kent Walker, senior vice president of global affairs at Google, says the meeting with President Biden "comes at a timely moment, as widespread cyber attacks continue to exploit vulnerabilities targeting people, organisations and governments around the world.

“Governments and businesses are at a watershed moment in addressing cyber security… [cyber attacks] are increasingly endangering valuable data and critical infrastructure," he says.

According to research from IBM, the average global cost of a data breach rose about 10 per cent a year to $4.2 million over the past 12 months. The United States continued to top the list, with average costs of $9 million, up from $8.6 million a year ago, followed by Saudi Arabia and the UAE at $6.9 million. Canada ($5.4 million), Germany ($4.9 million) and Japan ($4.7 million) complete the list.

Paige Schaffer, chief executive at Global Identity & Cyber Protection Services at Generali Global Assistance, says as many companies beef up their security, people should take a look at their own vulnerabilities and plans for cyber security incidents, at the same time as tech giants are looking to make changes.

"Although major companies have committed to investing in this ongoing issue, it does not mean identity theft will be over," she says. 

"Savvy identity thieves can leverage any form of customer information to build a synthetic identity that will allow them to take out loans, credit cards."

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