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Ransomware Spreads Tentacles: 3 Cybersecurity Stocks to Watch (Revised)

Chandrima Sanyal

The issue of cybersecurity has worried organizations for a long time. The ever-evolving nature of cyberattacks makes it difficult for organizations to keep pace with them effectively. Cyberattacks are responsible for massive losses. In fact, per Absolute Markets Insights data, cyberattacks is likely to cost companies almost $5.2 trillion annually.

Cybercriminals use various ways to attack systems, including ransomware, denial-of-service, SQL injection attack, etc. Notably, ransomware is the most profitable malware, causing maximum financial damages to an individual or organization. It infects a computer to encrypt files or systems. Typically, the victim has to cough up a ransom amount for data retrieval.

Markedly, per a report by Cybersecurity Ventures, ransomware is estimated to cause global damage worth $20 billion to organizations by 2021, 57 times more than what was recorded in 2015.

We had got an idea about the gravity of damages caused by a ransomware when organizations were affected by two back-to-back ransomware attacks — WannaCry in May and Petya in June 2017. Cybersecurity stocks had rallied throughout that year, driven by these attacks.

The year 2020 began with foreign exchange company Travelex revealing that it was attacked by the Sodinokibi ransomware, for which it had to pay a ransom of $6 million. BBC said that the attackers hacked into the company’s computer systems around mid-2019 and downloaded 5GB of sensitive customer data like date of birth, credit card information and national insurance numbers.

Recently, DXC Technology’s DXC insurance-based managed services subsidiary — Xchanging — was compromised by a ransomware, leading the company scrambling to take various containment and remediation measures.

Cybercriminals Profiting Off Coronavirus Pandemic

Notably, governments of several countries have come up with relief programs to help businesses and citizens receive government-funded relief money to tide over the coronavirus-led disruptions and losses. This has given a golden opportunity to cybercriminals to use “receive payment” or “relief payment form” subject lines as bait.

Markedly, as soon as the person clicks on the provided link, it redirects to a phishing website, which steals personal information or online banking credentials. Other variants of such emails use stimulus money as bait to get the user to open a password protected “COVID 19 Relief.doc” document that contains a financial trojan or ransomware.

Additionally, many other types of COVID-19-themed malware threats are making the rounds. One such example is a combination of ransomware and infostealer malware. This infostealer threat is spread through fake websites that resemble a legitimate Windows system. If the unsuspecting user clicks on a link provided on the websites to download any of the offered tools, they are proceeded to download further payloads from trynda[.]xyz, trynda1[.]xyz and trynda2[.]xyz, exposing the user’s credentials.

Why Ransomware Protection is Important

An antivirus alone cannot provide protection from a ransomware attack. Due to the growing incidences of ransomware attacks, vendors now are offering defense approaches and decryption tools to help ransomware victims.

Firms primarily need to focus on protecting their business from insider threats, phishing scams and exposed databases.

This provides ample growth opportunities to cybersecurity firms. Here, we have shortlisted three companies with strong malware protection capabilities, which are worth adding to your portfolio in the current scenario.

Fortinet FTNT provides broad, integrated and automated cybersecurity solutions, globally. The company offers security and networking functions that include firewall, intrusion prevention, anti-malware, a virtual private network and much more. For instance, Fortinet’s Security Fabric elements like FortiMail, FortiGate, FortiClient, FortiSandbox and FortiAnalyzer can detect, prevent and mitigate damages caused by the WannaCry ransomware.

Fortinet carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Trend Micro TMICY develops security solutions that protect against a wide range of insidious threats and combined attacks, including viruses, spam, phishing, spyware, botnets, and other Web attacks, like data-stealing malware. For instance, its tools like RansomwareFileDecryptor and TeslacryptDecryptor can decrypt ransomware like Crypt variants, TeslaCrypt, AutoLocky, BadBlock and more. The stock carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Apart from the aforementioned stocks, CyberArk CYBR is a cybersecurity stock with a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) worth considering.

CyberArk offers services, which protect organizational privileged accounts from cyberattacks.  Recently, the company tested the prevention tactics on the Sodin ransomware and found that the CyberArk Endpoint Privilege Manager is effective in limiting privilege on endpoints and application greylisting control and preventing Sodin from encrypting files even with the highest privileges.

(We are reissuing this article to correct a mistake. The original article, issued on July 06, 2020, should no longer be relied upon.)


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