Cybercrime rises: Here are 2 cyber stocks to watch that can help SMEs

The businesses destined to thrive during the COVID-19 are those with an interest in ‘of the moment’ products including hand sanitiser and face masks.

One other industry, including the businesses within, that could win is the cybersecurity industry.

Fraudsters are everywhere at the moment and your personal details are in danger of being hacked, stolen or worse.

The Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) has even warned the community and businesses to take extra care when seeking assistance in accessing the government’s COVID-19 stimulus measures as fraudsters pose as tax experts to provide misleading advice and support relating to COVID-19 stimulus benefits.

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The TPB claims these arrangements are often promoted through social media channels, claim to offer advice and support along with unnecessary services in a subscription or locked-in contract.

This is just one of many online frauds occurring during the COVID-19 crisis.
As Forbes reported, “Cybercriminals continue to exploit the coronavirus pandemic. The FBI has warned of a significant spike in coronavirus scams, adding to concerns about an ‘unprecedented wave’ of cyber-attacks voiced by United States Attorney Scott Brady”.

The 2019 Internet Crime Report released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), scams targeting business emails and personal email account cost US$3.5 billion last year. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Centre’s (IC) reported that $26.2 billion dollars made up domestic and international losses between June 2016 and July 2019.

This year, it is assumed the numbers will increase exponentially.

If we look at some of the larger companies, Apple, Netflix, and Yahoo account for 25% of brand impersonations in phishing attacks in Q1 2020.

Apple is being targeted most and has been frequently impersonated by cybercriminals during the first quarter 2020.

Netflix isn’t far behind claiming 9% of all phishing attempts.

The Australian Cyber Security Growth Network believes expenditure to protect IT infrastructure will accelerate due to COVID-19. It says spending is set to surge by 86 per cent to US$270 billion by 2026.

SMEs in trouble

Attacks on larger businesses highlight the issue and make it relatable to the general public, but a lot of small businesses are also at risk and the need for effective cyber security is an area that’s seeing a surge in demand amongst SMEs.

It is particularly pertinent for SME at the moment as COVID-19 has sent many employees home to work on their personal networks, meaning the chance for exposure to malicious actors is increased.

It is likely that people will be working from home in some capacity for months to come.

This unprecedented shift to distance working is forcing organisations to adapt to rapidly evolving security requirements and threats.

So what can these companies do?

There are basic steps you could put in place, such as using a full-service internet security suite, strong passwords and updated software. It is also worth keeping an eye on major security breaches to keep up to date with what the scams are and how they may affect your business.

SMEs may also look to engage cybersecurity firms to implement bespoke strategies to keep hackers and fraudsters at bay.

Two listed stocks that can help and that you can invest in

WhiteHawk Limited (ASX: WHK)

ASX-listed WhiteHawk is the first global online cybersecurity exchange and AI driven cyber risk mitigation company enabling small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) to take smart action against cybercrime.

The $9 million capped WhiteHawk established the first cybersecurity solutions marketplace for small to mid-sized businesses enterprises (those with revenues of up to US$1billion). The platform identifies, prioritises, and mitigates cyber risks for businesses of all sizes.

Further, WHK also provides cyber-risk consulting to US federal government departments, Fortune 500 companies and other large institutions that involves continuously monitoring, prioritising, validating, and mitigating cyber risks.

WhiteHawk is 37% down on the market over the last six months, but with contracts to come during this crisis could be a small cap stock to watch with a bit of upside built in.

Qualys Inc (NASDAQ: QLYS)

Qualys’s cloud-based security and compliance stack are being received positively by new and existing customers.

The stock has a market cap of $4.3 billion and revenues of US$321.6 million.

Qualys, Inc. provides cloud-based platform that delivers information technology (IT), security, and compliance solutions in the United States and across the globe. The company offers Qualys Cloud Apps, which includes Asset Inventory, CMDB Sync, Vulnerability Management, Continuous Monitoring, Patch Management, Threat Protection, Security Configuration Assessment and much more.

The company also provides core services, including asset tagging and management, reporting and dashboards, questionnaires and collaboration, remediation and workflow, big data correlation and analytics engine, and alerts and notifications, which enable integrated workflows, management and real-time analysis, and reporting across IT, security, and compliance solutions.

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