It’s not unusual for cybersecurity shares to see increased favor after major cyber attacks. This week sees that trend continue on a mega-scale. The leading vendors of cyber safety services are watching their shares rise this Monday. The spikes come after a series of major PC attacks, particularly ransomware, came to fore over the weekend.
Plaguing governments, businesses and even private citizens, ransomware stories are in no shortage today. The last decade has seen some 15 large-scale cyber attacks take place. This is according to the analytics of CNBC’s, which also point out that stocks related to cybersecurity drew massive gains in the wake of such attacks.
This time around, the real winners from your misfortune include Symantec Corporation , FireEye and Palo Alto Networks Inc .
For those out of the loop, an extremely widespread cyber-attack took place on Friday. It targeted around a 150 nations, affecting hospital computers, trading vendors, factory software and private PCs across the board.
On Friday, the number of people hit by these attacks sat at 200,000. Reports say that number climbed significantly by Monday morning. However, there are experts in the field of cybersecurity whom insist that these ransomware attacks have slowed over the weekend. Yet the slump in attacks is suspected to be short-lived.
Ransomware attacks take center stage
We are not all computer boffins, though, and for some the term ransomware is a foreign concept. In essence, ransomware is a form of malicious software, a controllable computer virus, if you will. It is created to restrict PC users from accessing their machines. Through ransomware, people and businesses can either be wholly or partially closed off from their systems.
How do you get rid of ransomware? You guessed it. More often than not, people and corporations have no choice but to pay the ransomers a specific sum of money in order to regain access to their computers. Hackers often require payments to be made via Bitcoin or other alt coin currencies.
Ransom prices are relatively low in the most recent cases. This is according to Rob Wainwright, director at Europol. They reportedly start $300 and spike to $600 in some cases. Ransoms usually go up if the hostage user fails to pay within a specified period.
“We are in the face of an escalating threat,” Wainwright reported. The director is certain the number of those affected by such attacks will continue to grow over the next few days
The real winners from cybersecurity attacks
Every situation has a winner and a loser, yet the recent ransomware attacks are not at as successful as some might expect. The number of businesses which are giving into these criminal attacks are “remarkably few”.
“Most people are not paying this,” Wainwright assures. “ So there isn’t a lot of money being made by criminal organizations so far.”
Yet cybersecurity stocks are the true gainers of the current widespread cyber panic. After the weekend news, Monday morning had the likes if Palo Alto Networks climb over 4 percent during morning trading. The same effect can be seen on Symantec shares while FireEye’s morning saw a 5.5 percent increase.
The gains seen in the shares of cybersecurity majors are not unprecedented, though. In the aftermath of major attacks like these, industry stocks tend to rise in response. Over 2.5 was gained in the ETF of PureFunds ISE Cyber Security. That left the EFT at new 52 week high during Monday morning trade.
The recent surge of ransomware attacks will likely heighten moving into the week.