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Combat the Global Cyberattack with These 4 Buy-Rated Stocks

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Friday was witness to an unprecedented global assault on computers, specifically those running on the Windows operating system. Ultimately, the cyberattack affected at least 200,000 computers across the world, as per EU law enforcement agency Europol estimates. The malicious software, characterized as ransomware, is now the principal cyber threat, according to Europol’s executive director Rob Wainwright,

Wainwright also pointed out that the attack had taken place on an unprecedented scale. Further, there were indications that attacks were likely to continue into the current week, which has brought cybersecurity companies into focus once again. Investing in these stocks is an imperative now, given that such attacks are likely to continue in the near future.

“WannaCry” Strikes 150 Countries

According to Europol, Friday’s “WannaCry” ransomware attack took place across a minimum of 150 countries. Ransomware is named as such because it takes computers or even entire networks hostage until a specific ransom is paid up. However, its impact may have been muted since most European companies were preparing to close over the weekend.


Consequently, government agencies across the pond bore the brunt of the attack, in particular, the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, rail systems in Germany as well as Chinese government agencies.

Among those companies which were singed by the attack are the likes of PetroChina Company Ltd. PTR, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. NSANY and Renault SA RNLSY. Though the majority of U.S. companies remained unaffected, FedEx Corporation FDX bore the brunt of the attack. According to an Associated Press report on Friday, FedEx was quoted as saying that it was “experiencing interference.”

Microsoft Describes Attack as “Wake-up Call”

The fact that such attacks have become commonplace to some companies was evident from Telefónica, S.A.’s TEF reaction. The Spanish telecom major said that it did not face much trouble from the incident because it was used to facing such attacks on a regular basis. However, Microsoft Corp. MSFT described the event as a “wake-up call” for the U.S. government.

This is because the attack was orchestrated using information about security vulnerabilities stored by the U.S. government. Additionally, the software giant underlined the need for companies to keep their information systems up to date. Microsoft said that it had released a patch to tackle the Windows security flaw in March, but several users had not yet installed it.

Further Disruptions Likely

An unnamed security expert who is believed to have stopped the contagion by Saturday issued a warning the very next day that a fresh assault was possibly in the works. A new attack was likely to fix the chink in the ransomware’s armor. The fallout of the attack was evident even on May 14, with PetroChina’s parent yet to connect 20% of its large network of gas stations.

A section of exports believe that Russian cybercriminals possibly perpetrated the attack. This is because they were more likely to use ransomware as a weapon. The countries hit by the attack also support such a theory. Estimates of the total ransom paid out by victims of the attack range from $40,000-$50,000.

Our Choices

The “WannaCry” ransomware attack once again highlights the need for security software and systems. Even though the U.S. has remained largely unscathed, future attacks are unlikely to spare its shores. This only means that companies, particularly of the larger variety will spend larger amounts on cybersecurity in the days to come.

Adding stocks gaining from such trends to your portfolios looks like a smart option at this point. We have narrowed down our search based on a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and other relevant metrics. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Guidance Software, Inc. GUID is recognized worldwide as the industry leader in digital investigative solutions.

Guidance Software’s projected growth for the current year is more than 100%. Its earnings estimate for the current year has improved by 61.5% over the last 30 days.

Fortinet, Inc. FTNT is a provider of network security appliances and Unified Threat Management network security solutions to enterprises, service providers and government entities worldwide. It

Fortinet’s projected growth for the current year is 56%. Its earnings estimate for the current year has improved by 15.5% over the last 30 days.

VeriSign, Inc. VRSN enables Internet navigation for many of the world's most recognized domain names and provides protection for websites and enterprises around the world.

VeriSign’s projected growth for the current year is 8.9%. Its earnings estimate for the current year has improved by 1.1% over the last 30 days.

Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp. BAH is engaged in providing management and technology consulting services to the U.S. government in the defense, intelligence and civil markets. Its suite of offerings includes cybersecurity solutions.

Booz Allen Hamilton’ projected growth for the current year is 9.6%. Its earnings estimate for the current year has improved by 0.6% over the last 60 days.

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