The Case for Cybersecurity Stocks After the WannaCry Virus

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Starting last Friday, a massive cyberattack took place across the globe that locked up over 200,000 computers in 150 countries. Specifically, this was a ransomware attack that hit factories, hospitals, multinationals and even government institutions. The virus is known by the name WannaCry.

Perhaps one of the most interesting story lines to come from this global attack was a 22-year-old “accidental hero” who helped slow the spread of WannaCry. This U.K. blogger discovered a loophole in the code that allows users to block the virus via a kill switch. Otherwise, the virus could have spread to many more at this point.

As a result, cybersecurity stocks are rallying on the idea that many companies may be looking to revamp their IT departments and add to their security portfolio. Here, 24/7 has taken a look at some of the biggest cybersecurity movers Monday morning.

According to Oppenheimer:

The NY Times explains that its impact could “set off fears that the effects of the continuing threat will be felt for months, if not years.” If history is any guide, large-scale cyber attacks (e.g., Target in late 2013) have ultimately led to a fear-driven product procurement period by organizations seeking to quickly improve their cybersecurity defenses. We believe the “biggest ransomware outbreak ever” (F-Secure) could serve as a wake-up call for many organizations and countries delaying a review of their cybersecurity hygiene. In that regard, we believe all cybersecurity vendors under our coverage (Checkpoint, CyberArk, FireEye, Fortinet, Imperva, Mimecast, Palo Alto, Splunk, Symantec, Verint), but most notably FireEye, are poised for increased demand, particularly in the EMEA region where the attacks were largely focused.

For those that don’t know, ransomware is software used to extort money from its victims by locking them out from their data. Essentially a message demanding the ransom be paid will persist and users will not be able to access their data until the ransom is paid.

FireEye Inc. (NASDAQ: FEYE) saw some of the largest gains on the day, as a company that provides cybersecurity solutions that allow organizations to prevent and respond to cyberattacks. Shares of FireEye were last seen up over 6% at $15.79, with a consensus analyst price target of $14.93 and a 52-week trading range of $10.35 to $18.42.

Palo Alto Networks Inc. (NYSE: PANW) provides security platform solutions to enterprises, service providers and government entities worldwide. Shares were trading up 4% at $121.08. The stock has a 52-week range of $107.31 to $165.69 and a consensus price target of $143.89.

CyberArk Software Ltd. (NASDAQ: CYBR) is actually down on the day, but this move is also subject to weak earnings and fundamentals from last week. Shares were down almost 2% at $47.40, in a 52-week range of $40.11 to $59.28 and with a consensus price target of $60.94.

Fortinet Inc. (NASDAQ: FTNT) shares were up more than 4% at $40.94. The consensus price target is $44.12 and the 52-week range is $28.51 to $41.33.

PureFunds ISE Cyber Security ETF (NYSEMKT: HACK) is a great way of tracking the cybersecurity industry as a whole and is very positive on the day thus far. The ETF was last seen up more than 3% at $30.71, with a 52-week trading range of $22.38 to $31.00.