Cybersecurity shares surge as WannaCry ransomware continues to wreak havoc


There may have been many losers due to the rapid spread of the WannaCry ransomware, but security companies aren’t on that list: Shares in companies that specialize in cybersecurity surged in trading Monday.

According to reports, the market capitalization of the five biggest cybersecurity-related companies rose a collective $5.9 billion in early trading Monday, with shares in Symantec Corp. alone adding $750 million to its market capitalization since the close of trading Friday. Shares in FireEye Inc., which were first listed publicly in 2013 off the back of hacking hysteria at the time, closed the day trading up 7.5 percent, while Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. closed up 2.8 percent, followed by Palo Alto Networks Inc. up 2.7 percent.

Rounding out the five, Barracuda Networks Inc., which sells security software specifically focused on email, the main path through which WannyCry spread, closed the day up 5.7 percent. Shares in the Purefunds ISE Cyber Security ETF, an exchange-traded fund that tracks cybersecurity companies, closed the day up 3.2 percent.

The price increases come as privately held security firm Trustlook Inc. has perhaps beaten its large, listed competitors to market with the release of a new free scanner and vaccine toolkit to help protect Windows computers that are either vulnerable to WannaCry or have been infected with it. The toolkit, which is claimed by the company to provide protection against 49 WannaCry samples, has been made available for download from GitHub.

“This attack is unprecedented in scale,” Trustlook Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Allan Zhang said in a statement sent to SiliconANGLE. “Windows users and administrators should ensure that their systems are updated with the latest security patches to help prevent further infections and to slow the spread of the ransomware.”

As we wrote yesterday, Microsoft Corp. has also issued patches for Windows-powered computers, including support for previously unsupported versions – Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003.

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