The All Ords is edging into positive territory, paring earlier losses. But one ASX ETF is up far more on mounting cyber security fears.
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If you’ve never suffered from a cyberattack, count yourself lucky.
Cyberattacks come in all shapes and sizes. Some are orchestrated by nations – we’re looking at you Russia and China. While many are carried out by individuals or small groups of hackers.
But whether they steal an individual’s bank details to go on a personal shopping spree, or shut down a national gas pipeline for a huge ransom demand, they all have one thing in common.
And they must be deterred, if not eliminated.
Cyber criminals raking in tens of millions in ransom
The standard advice if your computer is being held hostage by hackers’ ransomware is not to pay them any money. Doing so won’t guarantee that they unlock your data and device(s). And it will only encourage further hacking.
The reality is that many people and large corporations do buckle in and shell out money to get their tech back up and running.
After Colonial Pipeline Co was hacked in the United States on 7 May – disrupting fuel supply in the world’s biggest economy – the company opted to pay the cyber criminals US$4.4 million (AU$5.6 million).
And Colonial is far from alone.
US insurance giant CNA Financial Corp, which rather ironically offers cyber insurance, was hacked in March this year as well. As Bloomberg reports, the company paid US$40 million “in late March to regain control of its network after a ransomware attack…The Chicago-based company paid the hackers about two weeks after a trove of company data was stolen, and CNA officials were locked out of their network.”
Palo Alto Networks estimates that the average ransom payoff in 2020 was US$312,493. That’s up 171% from cyber-related ransoms paid in 2019.
Bloomberg reports that “a task-force of security experts and law enforcement agencies… estimated that victims paid about $350 million in ransom last year, a 311% increase over 2019”.
And closer to home we have this from the Australian Financial Review:
Nine majority-owned real estate classifieds business Domain is warning users to look out for suspicious emails that purport to be from rental agents offering property deals after it was hit by a cyber attack.
The attack allowed scammers to access personal information, including email addresses and phone numbers.
An ASX ETF fighting for your digital safety
With cyberattacks and the ransoms paid to criminals doubling and even tripling year-on-year, cyber security firms are in the spotlight. And I imagine quite busy.
While the ASX does have a number of smaller cyber shares, the biggest players in the industry are all listed internationally.
But there is an ASX exchange-traded fund (ETF) you can look into which provides exposure to 40 of the leading cyber security shares in the world.
Namely, Betashares Global Cybersecurity Etf (ASX: HACK).
While the HACK share price has lagged the returns from the All Ordinaries Index (ASX: XAO) over the past 12 months, today is a different story.
In late afternoon trading, HACK shares are up 2.4% while the All Ords is up a slender 0.1%.
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