Study by Helen Domenici and Afzal Bari

Faced with a torrent of cyber attacks, companies providing fundamental services that power the U.S. economy and protect public health said they would have to almost double their cybersecurity spending to better guard their systems — and even then they would remain vulnerable, according to a Bloomberg Government study, “The Price of Cybersecurity: Big Investments, Small  Improvements” (subscription required).

Attacks are becoming more elaborate and dangerous, cyber experts report. The computer systems that support the nation’s critical infrastructure, which includes banks, airlines, nuclear power plants, food processing companies and health-care systems, are vulnerable to cyber attacks that can shut down or destroy systems, leading to reduced economic output and large-scale injuries or loss of life. Congress plans to consider legislation that encourages these companies to tighten the security of their systems to reduce successful attacks.

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Helen Domenici is a cybersecurity analyst who most recently worked with the Department of Homeland Security on cybersecurity strategy. She also headed the International Bureau of the FCC, responsible for licensing satellites, undersea cables and the wireless spectrum. She formerly served as assistant director at the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

Afzal Bari is a financial analyst at Bloomberg Government, focusing on technology and telecommunications. He advised senior executives at large global firms as a strategy consultant with the Corporate Executive Board. Bari holds an MBA from Duke University and undergraduate degrees in information technology and government.