A month and a half after the WannaCry attack swept across 150 countries and infected roughly 300,000 computers, another cyberattack mammoth has rippled through the technology sector.
Early on Tuesday (June 27), it was first reported that banks and companies in Ukraine were “disrupted” by a cyberattack called “GoldenEye” or “Petya,” according to Reuters. Russia was also one of the first countries to be attacked, which included the ransomware encrypting itself in computer software in the country’s largest oil company, Rosneft.
It didn’t take long for the cyberattack to be felt on a global scale as the United States was also slammed with the ransomware. In a separate Reuters article, it stated that roughly 2,000 attacks were “observed” by midday in New York, although Russia and Ukraine were the most affected. Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and, finally the US, were other countries impacted by the attacks.
Reuters further reported that a Ukrainian media company was asked to pay $300 in bitcoin in order to gain access back to its computer files, with a message that read:
Perhaps you are busy looking for a way to recover your files, but don’t waste your time. Nobody can recover your files without our decryption service
In a statement issued by the National Bank of Ukraine, the bank said that it had warned banks and other financial markets about an “external hacker attack” on websites of various Ukrainian banks and commercial and public enterprises.
“As a result of these cyber-attacks, banks were forced to restrict the functionality of services provided to customers,” the statement read.
In short, it’s clear to see that cyberthreats aren’t going away anytime soon–which only means that investments in cybersecurity are going to skyrocket for companies and savvy investors.
Due to the severity of the most recent cyberattack, and the preceding WannaCry attack, Nick Dinsmoor, vice president, strategy and marketing at Virtual Armour (CNSX:VAI) spoke with the Investing News Network (INN) and broke down how companies can better protect themselves into four segments.
First, Dinsmoor said to “always have a back-up of your data,” and to have multiple back-ups that are stored in different ways, such as over the cloud versus physical storage.
“Second, make sure the software on all computers is consistently updated,” he said. “The last two Ransomware attacks have exploited holes that if patched would have prevented the infection,” emphasizing that the time it takes to update is “well spent.”
Third, Dinsmoor stated it’s important to “be vigilant” due to how easy it can to be targeted via social engineering.
“A simple click on a link can unleash a network-wide virus,” he said, exampling links sent through emails should also be monitored.
“Finally, make sure you have the right resources to support your business,” Dinsmoor continued, such as turning to cybersecurity companies like VirtualArmour or hiring in-house specialists.
Cybersecurity investments rising
As cyberthreats continue to grow, so will the amount of spending on cybersecurity products and services. According to a Cybersecurity Ventures report, global cybersecurity spending is expected to reach at least $1 trillion between 2017 and 2021.
Steve Morgan, editor-in-chief at Cybersecurity Ventures, said in the report that the firm expects the market to grow between 12 and 15 percent year-over-year during the same time frame.
Dinsmoor said from an investor perspective, “it is an exploding market.” He continued, stating that as VirtualArmour is the only pureplay cybersecurity company on the Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE), the company has seen an “an uptick in inquiries” that is “driven by an increased understanding of the market and broad media coverage of the growing threat.”
That trend, Dinsmoor continued, can be seen across a number of cybersecurity companies, particularly in the face of the rising number of cybercrimes.
“What we have seen over the last year has been a positive correlation between cyberattacks and stock price patterns,” he said. “While these attacks are horrible and impact businesses, communities and individuals, they do increase the exposure of the cyber defence market to the mainstream.”
Dinsmoor added that this focus can increase the volume of buyers in a cyberseceurity stock, but more importantly adds diversity to an investment portfolio.
That said, Dinsmoor said that now is the time buy into a cybersecurity stock, but stressed that not all cybersecurity companies are created equal.
“Look at companies with a track record of success, customer retention and strong leadership,” he said.
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Securities Disclosure: I,Jocelyn Aspa, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.