An unprecedented number of cyber attacks were unleashed around the globe last year, compromising millions of people and their personal and financial data. This year looks to be no different, but at least investors are better prepared to cash in on the panic…
Imagine being held on $300 ransom to regain access to your own PC — or risk wiping out all your files.
That’s exactly what happened to hundreds of thousands of people who fell victim to CryptoLocker – the biggest online security attack of 2013.
CryptoLocker is a “ransomware” hack that encrypts your data and locks you out permanently unless you pay up.
According to Dell researchers, the hackers behind CryptoLocker pulled in $30 million in just 100 days.
Though the alleged perpetrators have been caught, it capped off an incredible year of security threats.
Besides ransomware, 2013 also saw the proliferation of online account hacks and mobile malware.
Hundreds of millions of credit card numbers and personal passwords stored in customer databases from Target to Adobe were compromised and exposed over the past year.
Although none were as large as the approximately 160,000,000 accounts that were breached by a single Russian-Ukraine racket between 2005 and 2012, the cumulative number of separate incidents in 2013 eclipsed that amount with relative ease.
Of course, if such threats didn’t have the average American worried already, lest we forget that even our own government is breaching our privacy…but that’s another article entirely.
An equally menacing problem last year was in the smartphone realm, where mobile devices were being attacked.
While there have been a series of isolated incidents, no major epidemic has spread yet.
Nevertheless, security experts warn that the mobile space is expected to be a massive breeding ground for future hacks.
As such, it is in the area of mobile malware protection that I see incredible opportunity for one stock.
Top Cyber Security Stock To Buy Today:
Sunnyvale, CA-based Fortinet Inc. (NASDAQ: FTNT) is a worldwide provider of network security solutions and is a market leader in unified threat management (UTM).
The Company provides online security products and services to the majority of the Fortune Global 100.
According to developers Fortinet’s security platform, FortiGuard Labs, 96.5% of all mobile malware tracked last year were Android based, followed by Nokia’s Symbian at a distant second with 3.45%, while the Apple iOS, BlackBerry, PalmOS, and Windows combined for less than 1%.
FortiGuard reported around 500 malicious Android samples per day last January. By November, that number grew to 1,500 samples per day.
In all, over 1,800 new distinct families of mobile viruses were discovered by FortiGuard in the past year alone.
Chances are, thousands more will be forthcoming, and it’s likely going to keep Fortinet busy for the remainder of 2014.
Last year, Fortinet’s stock had its share of ups and downs, but still had a strong showing for 2013.
Q4 EPS of $0.15 exceeded consensus estimate of $0.14. However, full year EPS of $0.48 was below 2012’s $0.53.
On the flip side, the Company saw record billings and record revenue which in turn is pushing the stock up to its highest level since last March.
In fact, 37 deals worth $500,000 or more were signed in the fourth quarter alone, up from 27 a year earlier.
And while sales of higher-end security solutions fell to 30% from 36%, it was partially offset by an increase in entry-level products which accounted for 41% of sales versus 34% a year prior.
All in all, management at Fortinet is bullish on a rapidly improving macro environment in cyberspace, which, ironically, means an even more dangerous future ahead for people online.
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