Almost three days into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, global tensions are continuing to mount. U.S. President Joe Biden has announced harsher sanctions aimed at Russia’s financial and tech sectors. And while many agree that this type of action is necessary, it has also given rise to a new conflict-driven fear. CNN reports that U.S. officials have issued a dire warning to American businesses — be prepared for ransomware attacks.
This announcement came just minutes after Biden confirmed the new sanctions yesterday. David Ring, a senior cyber official with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), told businesses that Russia’s cybercrime operations were likely to grow as the conflict continued. In ransomware attacks, a company’s data is held hostage through a phishing scam until a fee is paid. This trend of cybercrime from Russia has been growing steadily, but the war is likely to escalate it further.
While there have not been any “specific, credible threats” made to the U.S. homeland, businesses aren’t going to wait until there are. Cybersecurity companies are about to see an influx of demand for their services. Let’s take a look at the top cybersecurity stocks to buy before fears increase even more.
Cybersecurity Stocks to Buy: Palo Alto Networks (PANW)
A leader within the cybersecurity space, PANW had plenty to recommend it before the year began. InvestorPlace contributor Larry Ramer predicted that it was likely to outperform the Nasdaq in 2022. So far, its performance supports that hypothesis. Ramer noted that in addition to the mounting demand for cybersecurity services, the sector is becoming increasingly reliant on automation and artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Palo Alto Networks was quick to realize that and begin utilizing this type of tech. Fellow contributor Chris Markoch also touted the benefits of its App-ID platform and standalone solutions. Both authors issued these endorsements before war in Ukraine became a viable threat.
Now, conflict has escalated with a nation known for cyberattacks. There is even more reason to believe that PANW will continue to rise as this transpires. InvestorPlace’s Eddie Pan reports that analysts remain primarily bullish on the stock, issuing high price targets. This is partially due to the company’s recently reported earnings. However, the strong market momentum pushing cyber stocks upward remains a far more important factor. This sector leader should absolutely be held among cybersecurity stocks to buy.
Founded in 2013, SentinelOne made stock market history in June 2021 as the highest valued initial public offering (IPO) of the cybersecurity sector. Since then, it hasn’t disappointed investors. When InvestorPlace contributor Muslim Farooque analyzed top 2022 cyber plays, he noted that SentinelOne boasted an impressive AI platform. Additionally, the firm more than doubled its sales in 2020 and continued to grow in 2021.
After being courted by Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) in early 2022, cyber defense leader Mandiant (NASDAQ:MNDT) opted to form a strategic alliance with SentinelOne to help clients mitigate data breaches and other cyber threats. Also worth noting is the fact that SentinelOne boasts a customer-centric business model. “Mutual collaboration means the company and its partners serve their customer needs fully,” notes InvestorPlace contributor Chris Lau. Both attributes position the company well to help customers prevent cyberattacks before they happen, making S stock a clear play for cybersecurity stocks to buy.
Cybersecurity Stocks to Buy: CrowdStrike Holdings (CRWD)
Amid the market selloff that we saw in February 2021, Wall Street still held CRWD not just among cybersecurity stocks to buy but among general market winners. It’s not hard to see why. The company is a leader among software-as-a-service (SaaS) stocks. It boasts a dynamic platform that is designed to assist with many cybersecurity needs. This positions it well to capture a significant market share. Now that a global conflict is poised to push the sector to new heights, CrowdStrike is likely to ride the wave to the top.
Yesterday, CRWD was among the winners of the day as cyber stocks popped across the board. As InvestorPlace contributor Chris MacDonald notes, U.S. investors are not taking the threat of international cyber attacks lightly. Given what is at stake, this is an appropriate reaction. The threat of ransomware attacks have boosted U.S. cybersecurity stocks in times when there was no war with Russia. Now that there is a conflict in Ukraine, dynamic industry leaders like CrowdStrike are at a clear advantage.
The stock saw some turbulence early in the year. However, investors who bought the dip will be rewarded as widespread fears send trusted cybersecurity winners up.
On the date of publication, Samuel O’Brient did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.