Global ransomware onslaught makes cybersec investors WannaCry with joy

News by Max Metzger

Friday's ransomware attack appears to have pushed cyber-security shares up, as WannaCry reminds investors how important other people's security is.


Cyber-security stocks have tilted skyward in the wake of a ransomware attack that crippled IT systems in 150 countries around the world.  

Shares in Mimecast rose by 11 percent, Sophos rose by seven percent, FireEye rose by eight percent and Proofpoint, which was involved in finding ‘the kill switch' for the malware, by 7.3 percent. The NCC Group, Cisco and Palo Alto networks all  rose by roughly three percent each.

The PureFunds ISE Cyber Security exchange-traded fund, which tracks 40 of the top cyber-security companies rose by 3.3 percent

The response to WannaCry may even end up being more lucrative for those fighting it than the individuals who perpetrated it. The current total within the bitcoin wallets the WannaCry ransomers directed their victims to comes to just under US$70,000 (£54,000). Symantec's market cap alone has risen by US$750 million (£580 million) since Friday.

WannaCry ransomware has infected up to 300,000 IT systems globally, including those of the UK's National Health Service. A number of NHS hospitals were paralysed and had to send patients home. It is perhaps unsurprising that in the wake of such an event, organisations would be looking to invest in the security of their networks.

Parliament is currently in recess so any immediate policy reply to Friday's events will have to wait until after the June 8 general election.

Mike Pittenger, head of security strategy at Black Duck, told SC that the WannaCry event is  “one of those things that will cause a step change in how businesses treat this stuff”.

Security will be the subject of much closer attention in the coming weeks and months, said Pittenger, with organisations better observing the basics, investing in cyber education and above all, patching.

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