Mark Zuckerberg is worth $60 billion, making him one of the richest people in the world.
As the founder and CEO of Facebook Inc (FB), one of the most successful technology companies ever, Zuckerberg is a genius when it comes to technology.
But despite Zuckerberg’s financial resources and tech smarts, the young billionaire recently fell prey to hackers. In early June, Zuckerberg’s Twitter and Pinterest accounts were hacked.
The perpetrators found Zuckerberg’s passwords –“dadada” — in a database of more than 100 million usernames and passwords that were stolen from LinkedIn in 2012.
Although Zuckerberg suffered little reputation damage from the incident, the hacking was a bit embarrassing. After all, his company warns its users not to use their Facebook passwords anywhere else online.
However, the hacking actually places Mark Zuckerberg in good company.
Hacking is going viral in 2016. The headlines have been filled with high-profile hackings threatening the most powerful private and public institutions in the world.
In May, Myspace was hacked and had 360 million email addresses and passwords stolen. Experts are saying it could be the largest hack ever.
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Last week Dropbox, one of the world’s largest suppliers of cloud storage, had more than 68 million account details leaked. Hacking is hitting the public sector just as hard.
In July the Democratic National Convention was hacked. Hackers recently breached databases for election systems in Arizona and Illinois.
Leakedsource.com, a company that sells access to stolen data, says it has added more than a billion records to its databases since May.
Being hacked can be devastating for a company, costing tens of millions in lost revenue and legal fees. Add in reputational damage or patent infringement, and losses can spiral into the billions.
Sony Corp (ADR) (SNE) is the perfect example. When the global leader was hacked in 2015 the breech brought the company to its knees. Estimates suggest the hacking cost Sony $35 million in IT repairs alone.
The threat of being hacked will have companies and governments has sent cyber security spending soaring in the last five years. Take a look below.
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Looking forward, cyber security spending is set to accelerate.
According to market research firm Gartner, the global cyber security market topped $75 billion in 2015. Gartner expects the market to grow to $100 billion by 2018. Market research firm Markets and Markets expects the global cyber security market to hit $175 billion by 2020.
This tidal wave of spending is creating a great investment opportunity. It has never been a better time to be a cyber security company. These companies are in position to record revenue and earnings.
Today I am going to help your profit from this trend….
One way to profit is with PureFunds ISE Cyber Security (HACK). Launched in December of 2014, this ETF has been around for less than two years. This fund currently holds 34 cyber security stocks, making it an excellent way for investors to gain diversified exposure to the cyber security industry.
Another way to profit is by investing in an individual company. Below is a list of industry leaders that I expect to benefit from more spending on cyber security.
From this list, two stocks caught my attention in particular. Both of these companies recently reported record revenue, and I am expecting more of the same in the second half of the year.
Check Point Software develops both hardware and software designed to increase network security for large companies. Checkpoint has been on a roll in 2016. Revenue just hit a new all-time high, putting Checkpoint on pace to grow earnings by 8% in 2016. Analysts are projecting another 7% earnings growth in 2017. Many cyber security stocks trade with high valuations, but not Check Point. Its forward P/E of 18 is a sharp discount to the industry average 78, and is in line with the S&P 500.
CyberArk Software develops cyber security software with a focus on the financial, energy, retail and healthcare industries. In the last five years, CyberArk’s revenue has surged, climbing 164%. Take a look below.
Those impressive revenue gains have helped CyberArk crush earnings expectations, delivering an average positive earnings surprise of 68% in the last four quarters. Looking forward, analysts expect CyberArk to grow earnings by 30% in 2017.
Risks To Consider: Investors are expecting big things from cyber security stocks. That has many of the industry’s most promising companies trading with nose-bleed valuations. The industry has an average P/E ratio of 78. CyberArk has a P/E ratio of 69. The industry will need to continue delivering huge revenue growth for shares to move higher.
Action To Take: For conservative investors, HACK and Check Point are the best fit. HACK offers diversified exposure to the industry by holding 34 stocks, while Check Point is one of the industry’s biggest companies. For aggressive, growth investors, CyberArk is the best fit.
Editor’s Note: Cyber security isn’t the only sector that’s booming… Investing in energy storage more than DOUBLED in the first quarter 2016. Indicators point to an upward track for this breakout industry. Here are three ways to play it for 10 times the gains by 2020. Full story here.
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