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Microsoft commits to spend $20 billion on cybersecurity over five years

·Technology Editor
·2 min read
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Microsoft (MSFT) announced on Wednesday that it will invest $20 billion over the next 5 years in cybersecurity, four times its previous investments of $1 billion per year to protect its services.

The tech giant operates some of the world’s most used software, making it a prime target for cyberattacks. After all, cybercriminals and nation states want to hit the largest number of victims possible when they launch their attacks.

In addition to its $20 billion investment, Microsoft announced that it will offer $150 million in technical services to federal, state, and local governments to upgrade their security capabilities. The company says it will also expand its partnerships with community colleges and non-profits for cybersecurity training programs.

The U.S. is facing a shortage of cybersecurity workers. According to CyberSeek, a partnership between the National Institute of Standards and Technology; the Computing Technology Industry Association; and Burning Glass Technologies, there are more than 464,000 cybersecurity job openings in the U.S.

Microsoft’s announcement follows a Wednesday meeting of some of the tech industry’s most prominent CEOs and the Biden administration, during which the group discussed possible public-private partnerships to help address ongoing cybersecurity threats to the country’s critical infrastructure and private industries.

The meeting, which included Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook, Amazon (AMZN) CEO Andy Jassy, and Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL) CEO Sundar Pichai, comes as the U.S. is facing an onslaught of cyberattacks.

In April, the ransomware gang REvil attacked the Colonial Pipeline, forcing the company to shut down its pipeline that provides nearly half of the fuel capacity to the East Coast. A few months earlier, in December 2020, Russian hackers attacked government computer systems, gaining access to the Treasury Department and Department of Defense.

FILE - In this May 6, 2019, file photo Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella delivers the keynote address at Build, the company's annual conference for software developers in Seattle. Microsoft says it has detected more than 740 infiltration attempts by nation-state actors in the past year targeting U.S.-based political parties, campaigns and other democracy-focused organizations including think tanks and other non-profits. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

And in July, the government revealed that China-based hackers attempted to penetrate 23 U.S. pipeline companies from 2011 through 2013, and were successful in hacking 13.

Microsoft, for its part, has leaned increasingly on its cybersecurity credentials. The company announced in January that it saw $10 billion in revenue over the previous year from its cybersecurity products.

That announcement followed Microsoft’s involvement in uncovering the breadth of the December cyberattack, which hit private companies like cybersecurity firm FireEye (FEYE) before spreading to government agencies.

It will take more than just Microsoft’s investments to close the cybersecurity gap in the U.S., though. And while $20 billion is a lot of cash, the Biden administration will likely seek even more private sector spending to help plug up enough holes to deter future cyberattacks.

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