Cybersecurity Firms Find Huge Opportunity in Government Hack

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The latest major hack and cybersecurity news is that the personal data of roughly 4 million current and former federal U.S. employees has been compromised. Despite this being a travesty in and of itself, there is a bright side to it for top cybersecurity companies. While the need and growth opportunity in data security and protection is not new, it keeps becoming more obvious that the government and the major corporations just are not doing anywhere near enough to protect themselves and the public.

Cybersecurity players such as Palo Alto Networks Inc. (NYSE: PANW), FireEye Inc. (NASDAQ: FEYE) and CyberArk Software Ltd. (NASDAQ: CYBR) are among myriad potential winners here. These companies have all proven themselves worthy, and now we just have to see how well these companies can wrangle the government and the largest companies to open their wallets and spend what it will take for data security.

The U.S. government believes the culprits of this latest hack to be Chinese.

Cybersecurity firms are continuing to find themselves more on the forefront. After Target and Home Depot were hacked, more companies, and even the government, realized the necessity for a strong defense for their networks.

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Recently Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) announced a new contract with FireEye to protect consumers. The relationship between a major credit card company and a cybersecurity firm might be a total “game changer” for both industries going forward.

The deal between Visa and FireEye was one of the first of its kind. The Visa and FireEye Community Threat Intelligence (CTI) offering will bring together threat information from both companies, allowing merchants and issuers to quickly detect and respond to attacks against their IT and payment infrastructure.

Basically, as Visa’s network security becomes more policed by FireEye, customers stand to be safer than they were previously. At this point Visa is looking out for its best interest, but it is giving FireEye, and for that matter the whole cybersecurity field, a shot at the big leagues.

CyberArk is relatively new on the public cybersecurity scene. This company only debuted on the market back in September 2014. Since that time it has made a meteoric rise along with other cybersecurity firms.

Palo Alto provides enterprise security platforms to other companies, service providers and government entities worldwide. Over the past two years alone, this stock has nearly tripled. Going forward, Palo Alto stands to grow even more. Currently its market cap is roughly $14 billion.

In a broader sense, governments could look to contract these firms for the defense of their employees.

Now, a cyberattack is never a good thing. However, in this case, firms are rallying because governments and the market alike respect the necessity of cybersecurity firms in these modern times.

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Shares of Palo Alto were up 0.6% at $169.68 Friday morning. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $181.70 and a 52-week trading range of $73.12 to $172.00.

FireEye shares were up 2.3% to $49.07, within its 52-week trading range of $24.81 to $49.69. The consensus analyst price target is $49.27.

CyberArk shares were up 3.2% to $63.65. The consensus price target is $58.67, and the post-IPO trading range is $22.12 to $70.48.