Our nation at risk: New and deeply concerning numbers [Commentary]

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In their first quarter report for 2017, Cybersecurity Ventures projected the global spending on cybersecurity products and services will exceed $1 trillion cumulatively over the next five years. To put that in context, the reported amount of 2017 spending is projected to be more than $120 billion. We should also consider that current White House projections show that U.S. government will invest more than $19 billion in cybersecurity as part of the president’s fiscal 2017 budget. That is up more than 35 percent from FY16. It is clear the defense and intelligence organizations are preparing for another record year of cyberattacks. Will that be enough? If not, how much would be enough?

It is not difficult to see where all that money will be spent. Consider for just a moment all of the new devices that will be connected to the internet and become cyber targets — connected vehicles, wearable computing, the internet of things  and so on. We have entered an innovative era. This era is projected to be many times greater than the internet era of the mid-to-late 1990s where we witnessed expansive tech growth.

One has to wonder if we are moving ahead at a sufficient pace to adequately secure our sensitive military, intelligence and government systems, as well as our critical infrastructure. With current cybersecurity spending, it appears we are barely treading water, if that.

Now consider the flip side: In that same 2017 report mentioned earlier, they project cybercrime is experiencing a dramatic rise driven at least partially by a ransomware epidemic.

In summary, we are going to spend $1 trillion and still have $6 trillion in losses. After all, Einstein is credited (rightly or wrongly) with saying: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Perhaps it is time to bring the smartest, brightest, most innovate and creative out-of-the-box thinkers together and rethink cybersecurity.