Online data storage is an ever-growing industry and the need to protect information from hackers is growing along with it. (STAY AHEAD OF THE CURVE: Follow Kapitall on Twitter)
Many have heard of the impressive hacking capabilities of the group Anonymous, which recently made headlines for hacking SOPA supporters in retaliation against anti-digital piracy campaigns.
Anonymous has been arguably witty about choosing their subjects, usually chosen for their connection to protests the group has undertaken. But these skilled hackers do not represent all hacking organizations.
Indeed, a recent scan of only last week's headlines will quickly highlight the serious online security issues threatening to everyday operations.
NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, recently announced it was hacked no less than 13 times last year. "Some NASA systems house sensitive information which, if lost or stolen, could result in significant financial loss, adversely affect national security, or significantly impair our nation's competitive technological advantage," said Paul Martin, the agency's inspector general. (via Reuters) Consider that NASA spends $58 million of its $1.5 billion annual IT budget on cyber security.
FBI Director Robert Mueller claimed cybercrime is fast eclipsing terrorism as the bureau's top priority, reports CNNMoney. "Today, terrorists have not used the Internet to launch a full-scale cyberattack, but we cannot underestimate their intent," Mueller said. He also noted the FBI now has a special cybersecurity squad in each of its 56 field offices and 1,000 dedicated agents and analysts working the Web beat.
On Friday morning, technical problems caused a temporary internet blackout for a number of Defense Department personnel in the Washington D.C. area and in the Midwest. Spokeswoman, Air Force Lieutenant Colonel April Cunningham said it was "not caused by any malicious activity." But the outage did affect thousands of Pentagon workers who require the internet for their job functions.
Google recently offered "white-hat hackers" up to $1 million in rewards to anyone who can hack security in its Chrome web browser. The top individual prizes, up $60,000, will be delivered to anyone capable of identifying fully functional exploits "using only bugs in Chrome to deliver Windows 7 local OS user account persistence," reports The Inquirer.
Lastly, Tech Crunch discusses the gap between consumers who are ready for mobile wallets, and a market that claims to be unable to provide secure systems for it. Even retailers are eager to make mobile wallets a reality, to the point of developing their own mobile wallet systems. But TC's Sarah Perez calls foul: "The fight here is not about becoming the best mobile wallet provider, it's about owning the access to the customers' data that being a mobile wallet provider allows." Will customers feel secure entrusting this data to retailers? Probably not.
Business Section: Investing Ideas
So, how can you invest in the rising demand for superior online security?
We list below the ten security software & services companies trading on the US stock exchanges. Do you think any of these names will see an increased demand for their services and a rise in valuations?
Interactive Chart: Use the Compar-O-Matic to compare analyst ratings for the stocks mentioned below:
Use this list as a starting-off point for your own analysis.
1. 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 of $927.31M.
2. 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 of $14.33B.
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 of $1.30B.
4. 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 of $307.91M.
5. 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 of $184.83M.
6. ManTech International Corporation (MANT, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Provides technologies and solutions for national security programs in the United States and internationally. Market cap of $1.23B.
7. 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.
9. VASCO Data Security International Inc. (VDSI, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): The company has developed patented digital security hardware, software, and digital-signature technology. Market cap of $329.60M.
(Written by Rebecca Lipman)
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Analyze These Ideas: Getting Started
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Dig Deeper: Access Company Snapshots, Charts, Filings
- AsiaInfo-Linkage,Inc. (ASIA, Chart, Download SEC Filings)
- Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (CHKP, Chart, Download SEC Filings)
- Sourcefire, Inc. (FIRE, Chart, Download SEC Filings)
- IntraLinks Holdings, Inc. (IL, Chart, Download SEC Filings)
- The KEYW Holding Corporation (KEYW, Chart, Download SEC Filings)
- ManTech International Corporation (MANT, Chart, Download SEC Filings)
- Network Engines, Inc. (NEI, Chart, Download SEC Filings)
- Symantec Corporation (SYMC, Chart, Download SEC Filings)
- VASCO Data Security International Inc. (VDSI, Chart, Download SEC Filings)
- Wave Systems Corp. (WAVX, Chart, Download SEC Filings)
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