Power companies received a call from an anonymous person claiming to be from Microsoft, who offered step-by-step instructions to repair the damage caused by a software virus. They were never traced or identified, but the power companies weren’t falling for it anyway. The caller instructed them to enable “specific features in their computers that actually would have created a trapdoor in their networks. That vulnerability would have allowed hackers to shut down a plant and thrown thousands of customers into the dark”, according to CNBC.
In response, the government is considering the implementation of a bill of regulations or rules to create a baseline standard for the security systems for infrastructure companies.
The fear of some companies, though, is that it will allow the National Security Agency new freedoms to create a backdoor surveillance system by giving them access to private sector data. Leslie Harris, president of the Center for Democracy and Technology said, “The question is whether this is a cybersecurity bill or an intelligence bill,” while some businesses including Facebook and Edison Electric Institute support the bill because they believe that it leaves individual businesses to decide how best to protect themselves, which could include the software security companies Kapitall reported on last month.
If the bill becomes law, companies could be eligible to receive cyberthreat information and intelligence from the government that would allow them to identify hackers and cyberterrorists by their electronic signatures and Internet addresses. With the information provided by the NSA, companies could theoretically block attacks or stop them before damage is done, while there is no requirement to report information about the attacks to the agency. The difficulty for the companies is to actually trust the government with their private information.
Business Section: Investing Ideas
If the government is willing to pass regulation to strengthen the security systems of the infrastructure of our country, it could mean that the IT security industry could be looking forward to a jump in revenue. Below is a list of security software & services companies that could be affected by the government’s decision. Do you think these names will benefit from the increase in security?
List sorted by market cap.
Interactive Chart: Use the Compar-O-Matic to compare analyst ratings for the stocks mentioned below:
1. Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (CHKP, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Develops, markets, and supports a range of software, and combined hardware and software products and services for information technology (IT) security applications worldwide. Market cap at $15.63B, most recent closing price at $58.31.
2. Symantec Corporation (SYMC, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Provides security, storage, and systems management solutions to secure and manage information. Market cap at $13.23B, most recent closing price at $17.59.
3. Sourcefire, Inc. (FIRE, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Provides intelligent Cybersecurity solutions for information technology (IT); environments of commercial enterprises, such as healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, energy, education, retail, and telecommunications; and federal, state, and international government organizations worldwide. Market cap at $1.46B, most recent closing price at $47.16.
4. ManTech International Corporation (MANT, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Provides technologies and solutions for national security programs in the United States and internationally. Market cap at $1.16B, most recent closing price at $30.83.
5. AsiaInfo-Linkage,Inc. (ASIA, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Provides telecommunications software solutions and information technology (IT) products and services to telecommunications carriers and other enterprises in the People's Republic of China. Market cap at $867.83M, most recent closing price at $11.77.
6. VASCO Data Security International Inc. (VDSI, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): The company has developed patented digital security hardware, software, and digital-signature technology. Market cap at $360.32M, most recent closing price at $9.06.
7. IntraLinks Holdings, Inc. (IL, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Provides software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions for securely managing content, exchanging critical business information, and collaborating within and among organizations worldwide. Market cap at $261.71M, most recent closing price at $4.64.
8. The KEYW Holding Corporation (KEYW, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Provides mission-critical cybersecurity and cyber superiority solutions to defense, intelligence, and national security agencies in the United States. Market cap at $229.64M, most recent closing price at $8.79.
10. Network Engines, Inc. (NEI, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Provides application platforms and appliance solutions for original equipment manufacturers and independent software vendors worldwide. Market cap of $59.14M.
(Written by Danny Guttridge)
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Dig Deeper: Access Company Snapshots, Charts, Filings
- Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (CHKP, Chart, Download SEC Filings)
- Symantec Corporation (SYMC, Chart, Download SEC Filings)
- Sourcefire, Inc. (FIRE, Chart, Download SEC Filings)
- ManTech International Corporation (MANT, Chart, Download SEC Filings)
- AsiaInfo-Linkage,Inc. (ASIA, Chart, Download SEC Filings)
- VASCO Data Security International Inc. (VDSI, Chart, Download SEC Filings)
- IntraLinks Holdings, Inc. (IL, Chart, Download SEC Filings)
- The KEYW Holding Corporation (KEYW, Chart, Download SEC Filings)
- Wave Systems Corp. (WAVX, Chart, Download SEC Filings)
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