2 cyber stocks to watch as Australia comes under Cyberattack

On Friday 19 June, Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed Australian government, critical infrastructure and the private sector were being targeted by cyber hackers.

A range of sectors, including all levels of government, industry, political organisations, education, health, essential service providers, and operators of other critical infrastructure were the key targets.

While, Mr Morrison didn’t point the finger at any potential perpetrator, he did state it was an actor with “very, very significant capabilities.”

“What I simply can confirm is there are not a large number of state-based actors that can engage in this type of activity, and it is clear based on the advice that we have received that this has been done by a state-based actor.”

China, Russia and Iran are the usual suspects when it comes to states being suspected of sponsoring cyber operations and the deterioration of relations between China and Australia, following Australia’s call for an inquest into the origins of coronavirus do point to that nation, but this is mere speculation.

No matter who is responsible, the cyber threat is now constant and evolving and with the economy so dependent on cloud services and virtual communication and collaboration, particularly as many Australians adapt to working from home, it is perhaps the most vulnerable it has ever been. Hacking can cause severe reputational and relationship damage, so many businesses will no doubt be implementing stricter security controls or encouraging their employees.

“It is more important than ever that Australian organisations are taking the timely guidance provided by the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) to protect themselves and the economy. All organisations across industries and at all levels of government should, as an absolute minimum, be adopting the ACSC’s Essential Eight strategies to mitigate cybersecurity risks,” Macquarie Government managing director Aiden Tudehope said.

Investing in cybersecurity is a long-term project. Moving forward more and more businesses will come to understand how important secure infrastructure is to protect themselves against malicious cyber activity.

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds urged Australian organisations to be prepared and underlined a three point plan businesses should implement:

  • Patch your internet facing devices promptly to ensure any web or email server is fully updated with the latest software.
  • Use multi-factor authentication to secure your internet access infrastructure and your cloud-based platforms.
  • Become an Australia Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) partner to ensure you get the latest cyber threat advice, to protect your organisation online.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre and the Department of Home Affairs updated its technical advice, which outlines the steps to detect and mitigate cyber threats. It is available at cyber.gov.au.

So as businesses turn to cybersecurity firms, investors will look to the providers of that security in the form of listed stocks.

In Australia, there are four cybersecurity stocks to consider for your portfolio, however we urge you to seek professional financial advice when considering any stock for your portfolio.

The 2 cyber stocks to watch

1. WhiteHawk (ASX: WHK)

The attack was a wake-up call for all Australians, particularly organisations, to improve their cybersecurity. Product provider and advisory service WhiteHawk (ASX: WHK), provides an online security exchange and works with government departments such as the US Department of Homeland Security as well as small businesses.

The company listed in January 2018 at 25 cents and bills itself as the first global cloud-based cyber-security exchange, enabling small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) to discover their major cyber-business risks, then decide on, and buy, the cyber-security solutions that directly mitigate these risks.

It is currently capped at $11 million and on the back of the cyberattack its share price had risen 63.9% by market close to reach the magic dollar per share milestone.

WhiteHawk’s 360 Cyber Risk Framework includes continuous monitoring, alerting and mitigation of business and cyber risks for supply chain and vendor companies in real time.

It also has signed contracts with a “top ten US financial institution,” a “top 12 Defense Industrial Base (DIB) company” and “a US federal government department Chief Information Office (CIO).”

2. Tesserent (ASX: TNT)

Listed in 2016, Tesserent is a pure-play cyber-security stock that provides Internet security-as-a-service. The service includes firewall, authentication, anti-virus, anti-malware/spyware, intrusion detection and security event management.

In October last year the company was capped at just $2 million, it is now $37.3 million and a share price at 0.078.

The company has customers in Australia and across the globe within government, corporate and education fields.

Senetas could see demand rise for its encryption products, while its forward sales pipeline remains strong.

The company has no debt and currently has approximately $14million cash at bank. It has sufficient cash to withstand the direst forecasts relating to the COVID-19 virus, which is still impacting businesses in a major way.

This update is not financial advice. This article is general news and information.

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