A series of cyber attacks in the past few months has alarmed the American government.

Now President Joe Biden has invited the CEOs of some of America's most prominent tech companies to the White House and asked them to help them fight hackers.

"Most of our critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector, and government cannot meet this challenge alone," said Biden.

The guests included Tim Cook from Apple, Satya Nadella from Microsoft, Sundar Pichai from Alphabet-Holding around Google and Andy Jassy from Amazon.

Roland Lindner

Business correspondent in New York.

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The president said managers have "the power, the capacity and, I believe, the responsibility to raise the bar on cybersecurity." He pointed out that there is a shortage of specialists in what there is make it difficult to keep up with hackers.

An estimated 500,000 jobs are vacant.

What Biden discussed in detail with the top managers is unclear, according to his introductory words, the rest of the event took place behind closed doors.

Several of the companies represented later announced cybersecurity initiatives.

Microsoft, for example, pledged to invest $ 20 billion in this area over the next five years.

In addition, the government will be provided services worth $ 150 million, including to upgrade their security systems.

Google pledged $ 10 billion in investment and also announced a training program to help 100,000 Americans qualify in areas such as privacy and security.

Criticism of Facebook

Biden said cybersecurity has been a top priority for his government from the start. The president took office a few weeks after a spectacular cyber attack became known in December, apparently behind which Russian attackers were behind. The hackers installed malware in widely used software from the American provider Solarwinds, thereby gaining access to the systems of their customers, which included companies and American government agencies. A number of other serious hacks followed that year.

An attack on the Colonial pipeline company temporarily paralyzed oil supplies in parts of the country, and an attack on the meat company JBS brought plants to a standstill in North America and Australia. Both were ransomware attacks that extorted ransom from companies. And in both cases, hackers with connections to Russia are said to have been responsible. At a meeting in June, Biden called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to hold these cyber criminals accountable, as he now emphasized again at the event with the tech managers. The Russian leadership knows who and where the hackers are.

Biden's alliance with the tech giants when it comes to cybersecurity is a bit of a balancing act, because he has a mixed relationship with the industry. He has often criticized companies, for example he accused Facebook of spreading false information about the corona pandemic. He has also called well-known critics of "Big Tech" to influential posts in his government.