Cybersecurity stocks are great long-term buys because unbelievably, we’re still not prepared for cyber attacks. Even after hundreds of attacks over the years, some of the biggest companies in the world – even government agencies aren’t prepared. It’ll cost them big while creating substantial opportunities for cybersecurity stocks.
Costing the world trillions, Cybersecurity Ventures, says, “We expect global cybercrime damage costs to grow by 15 percent per year over the next three years, reaching $10.5 trillion USD annually by 2025, up from $3 trillion USD in 2015.”
What makes it worse is news that 65% of small to medium businesses don’t think they’re cyberattack targets, as noted in an OpenText 2023 Cybersecurity Global Ransomware Survey. Once they catch on, cybersecurity stocks will have even more room to run.
Even government agencies aren’t prepared. In February, for example, the U.S. Marshals Service said it was the victim of a ransomware attack where hackers accessed sensitive files, as noted by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
Unfortunately, it’s not a question of if we’ll be hit again, but when. And until the world takes it far more seriously, investors should strongly consider the top cybersecurity stocks.
Global X Cybersecurity ETF (BUG)
One of the best ways to gain exposure to cybersecurity is with an ETF, such as the Global X Cybersecurity ETF (NASDAQ:BUG).
With an expense ratio of 0.51%, and a cost of just over $25 a share, the fund offers exposure to 24 cybersecurity stocks.
ETFMG Prime Cyber Security ETF (HACK)
Or, take a look at the ETFMG Prime Cyber Security ETF (NYSEARCA:HACK). With an expense ratio of 0.60%, HACK invests in hardware and software cyber security solutions.
Since the year began, HACK has been explosive, running from about $44 to a recent high of $54.59.
Also, with high highs and higher lows for the last several months, I’d like to see the HACK ETF push back to at least $58 a share.
Palo Alto Networks (PANW)
Palo Alto Networks (NASDAQ:PANW) just got finished reporting strong first quarter earnings.
Revenue jumped 20% to $1.88 billion year over year, which beat estimates for $1.84 billion. Adjusted EPS of $1.38 beat expectations for $1.16. GAAP earnings jumped from six cents to 56 cents year over year.
Unfortunately, total billings, which jumped 16% year over year to $2.02 billion, missed estimates by five cents. It also missed the company’s range of $2.02 to $2.08 billion. That miss in billings is why PANW moved lower the other day, creating a buy opportunity.
Billings are a way to gauge health of a company long-term. But in the case of PANW, it had nothing to do with demand. Instead, as explained by the company, the bookings drop had more to do with the discounts and financing plans it offered its consumers to get through a tough economy, as noted by Seeking Alpha.
Check Point Software (CHKP)
There’s also Check Point Software (NASDAQ:CHKP), which jumped from about $129 to $142.36 since the start of November.
From here, if CHKP can break above double top resistance, could potentially test $147.50 near term. Helping, the company just beat Q3 EPS by five cents. Revenue of $596.3 million, which was up about 3.2% year over year beat by $3.78 billion.
Analysts at Piper Sandler then boosted its rating on CHKP to underweight with a $125 price target thanks to signs of recovery. Citi also raised its price target on CHKP to $140. BMO Capital raised its price target to $142 from $140 with a market perform rating.
Crowdstrike (NASDAQ:CRWD) rocketed from about $100 to $208. Now, if it can break above double top dating back to mid-2022, it could rally back to $240 a share. Analysts at Stifel also like it, upgrading CRWD to a buy rating with a $225 price target.
According to the firm, as quoted by Seeking Alpha, the company “cited a $19B endpoint security addressable market in 2024, and industry analysts forecasting mid-teens market growth in coming years. Through best-in-class technologies coupled with Incident Response services acting as tip-of-spear, CrowdStrike offers a leading endpoint security portfolio to prevent, detect, and respond to cyberattacks.”
Even better, the company just raised its own targets for subscription gross margins and operating margins.
Rapid7 Inc. (RPD)
Rapid7 Inc. (NASDAQ:RPD) also had a blistering hot year. Since Jan. 1, RPD rocketed from about $34 to a current price of $51.80—and could race even higher.
Not only did RPD just report a strong quarter, Wolfe Research, which cited future annual recurring revenue as the catalyst upgraded it to an “outperform” rating.
With earnings, the company posted adjusted third quarter EPS of 50 cents, which beat expectations by eight cents. Revenue of $199 million beat by $1.91 million.
“We are reiterating our 2023 free cash flow target, and continue to expect that we will be able to double free cash flow in 2024,” said RPD Chairman and CEO, Corey Thomas.
Analysts at Barclays just raised their price target on RPD to $52. Mizuho and Baird raised to $56. Truist raised its price target to $50 from $40.
There’s also Fortinet (NASDAQ:FTNT), which had a painful year. After soaring from about $47.50 to a high of $81.24, FTNT plummeted to a recent low of $51.26.
All after the company missed its own guidance for third quarter billings, and said billings should drop 5% or the year. Analysts at Barclays also downgraded the FTNT stock to equal weight from overweight. HSBC also downgraded FTNT to a hold rating, cutting its price target to $49 from $75. However, it does appear FTNT has priced in most of the negativity, leaving me to believe crisis is opportunity.
On the date of publication, Ian Cooper did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines