Cyber tech stocks surge in the wake of the WannaCry attack

Investors are focusing on opportunities that the attack has presented for Tech companies.

Cyber security experts have found evidence that point to a North Korea link in the WannaCry “ransomware” global cyberattack that has infected 300,000 devices across 150 countries, since Friday.

Security researchers from Kaspersky Lab and Symantec have disclosed that a portion of the code that was used in the WannaCry malware also appeared in programs used by North Korea-run hacking group known as the Lazarus Group.

“This is the best clue we have seen to date as to the origins of WannaCry,” said Kurt Baumgartner, a security researcher from Kaspersky Lab.

On cautionary note however, both companies have made it clear that, based on the evidence which was published on Twitter by Google’s security researcher Neel Mehta, it is still too early to say whether North Korea was involved in the attacks.

The research is being closely monitored by law enforcement agencies around the round.

On Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump’s homeland security adviser said the involvement of foreign nations and cyber criminals were the most likely culprit.

Both Kaspersky Lab and Symantec have stated, they need to study the code further and have asked the help of other security researchers for analysis. Since hackers tend to reuse code from each other’s successful operations, copied lines of code fall short of proof.

European and U.S. security officials, on the condition of anonymity, have pointed a finger at North Korea, as the most probable suspect.

Cyber security firm, FireEye Inc has said it was also investigating the code.

“The similarities we see between malware linked to that group and WannaCry are not unique enough to be strongly suggestive of a common operator,” said John Miller, a researcher at FireEye.

Irrespective of which hacker group or country was behind the attack, investors have put their money on cyber security stocks thinking that companies and governments will now sink in funds to upgrade cyber defenses.

As per Avast, the countries which were most affected by WannaCry are Russia, Ukraine, Taiwan and India.

Authorities in the United States and Europe have turned their attention to preventing hackers from spreading new versions of the virus.

Shares of FireEye, a U.S. company, and Cyren Ltd, an Israeli company, rose sharply following the attacks.

Cisco Systems’ shares also rose by 2.3% and was the second-biggest gainer in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, as investors focused more on opportunities that the attack presented for technology firms than the risk it posed to corporations.

As per Morgan Stanley, Cisco should benefit from the attack since companies and government will now be willing to spend more on upgrading their networks in efforts to block security loopholes.


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