Even though the coronavirus outbreak has dampened the global economy and left businesses closed, hackers remain active in constantly developing malicious software to breach cybersecurity. With most employees working from home, providing security to communication network and services is now of vital importance.
On Apr 22, an international group of nearly 400 volunteers with cybersecurity expertise joined forces to fight hacking related to COVID-19. The group’s prime motto is to stop phishing attacks and prevent financial crime and scams. As several cybersecurity firms are engaged in this situation, their stocks may see an uptrend in the near future.
Cybercrime in the Time of Pandemic
In the beginning of April, Google’s Threat Analysis Group had reported that it has detected nearly 18 million pandemic-themed malware or phishing messages per day and some 240 million COVID-linked spam messages. In fact, the technology giant warned that hackers are exploiting coronavirus crisis to target health care organizations and coronavirus task forces.
The spam messages sent by hackers lure workers with offers of free meals or delivery options from fast food franchises. The sender disguises as remote government workers while the websites mimic government or public health agency pages.
However, the task force of 400 volunteers to tackle cyber threat, called the COVID-19 CTI League, is focused on combating hacks against medical facilities and other responders of the health scare. The group is dealing primarily with “garden-variety phishing attacks,” which hackers are using to collect personal information and credentials.
In the phishing messages sent, users are asked to enter a password or any other sensitive information which can be used by attackers to take control of bank accounts, emails and other database.
The Washington Post recently reported that unknown activists have posted 25,000 email addresses and passwords online. The information was obtained by SITE Intelligence Group that looks after online extremism and terrorist organizations. The accounts posted include 9,938 IDs from the National Institute of Health (NIH), 5,120 IDs from World Bank, 2,732 IDs the World Health Organization (WHO) and others like the Gates Foundation which are working toward containing the coronavirus pandemic.
5 Stocks in Focus
Given the massive attacks launched by private and state-backed hackers, more than 40 countries have come together with professionals in senior positions from technology giants like Microsoft and Amazon to fight the scenario. Moreover, protection of communication networks and services to help people continue work from home has now become essential. Cybersecurity firms are certainly gearing up to tackle the situation. Hence, we have shortlisted five cybersecurity stocks that can soar in this scenario.
CrowdStrike Holdings, Inc. CRWD provides cloud-delivered solutions for next-generation endpoint protection. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current quarter is 87.2% compared with the Zacks Internet - Software industry’s projected earnings growth of 54.9%.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings has been revised 42.9% upward over the past 60 days. CrowdStrike Holdings carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 (Strong Buy) Rank stocks here.
Akamai Technologies, Inc. AKAM provides cloud services for delivering, optimizing and securing content and business applications over the Internet. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 8.9% compared with the Zacks Internet - Services industry’s projected earnings growth of 2.5%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings has been revised 2.5% upward over the past 90 days. Akamai Technologies has a Zacks Rank #2.
Okta, Inc. OKTA provides a cloud-based system of record to store and secure user, application, and device profiles. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current quarter is 12.9% against the Zacks Internet - Software and Services industry’s projected earnings decline of 5.9%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings has been revised 10.3% upward over the past 30 days. Okta carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
FireEye, Inc. FEYE provides cybersecurity solutions that allow organizations to prepare for, prevent, investigate, respond to, and remediate cyber attacks. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current quarter is more than 100% against the Zacks Security industry’s projected earnings decline of 8.1%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings has been revised 21.4% upward over the past 90 days. FireEye carries a Zacks Rank #3.
Qualys, Inc. QLYS provides cloud-based platform that delivers information technology, security, and compliance solutions. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current quarter is 9.4% against the Zacks Security industry’s projected earnings decline of 8.1%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings has been revised 2.4% upward over the past 90 days. Qualys carries a Zacks Rank #3.
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