Experts to Industry: Step Up Cyber Spending 9X

To prevent a digital Pearl Harbor from crippling the country, banks, utilities and communications companies should increase funding for cybersecurity ninefold, according to a new study by Bloomberg Government and the Ponemon Institute LLC to be released today:

To achieve security capable of stopping 95 percent of attacks -- considered by the Traverse City, Michigan-based Ponemon Institute to be the highest attainable level -- those surveyed said they would have to boost spending to a group total of $46.6 billion from the current $5.3 billion.

"The consequences of a successful attack against critical infrastructure makes these cost increases look like chump change," Ponemon told Bloomberg in an interview. "It would put people into the Dark Ages."

Of course the companies might argue that moving that kind of money in a weak economy might be equally crippling to their bottom lines. But as cybersecurity expert James Lewis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies says in the Bloomberg article, "The pattern in the U.S. is not to do anything until there's a disaster. The way we're going to find out if someone has the capability is we'll wake up one day and the lights won't work."