Investors Turn to Cyber Security Stocks, ETFs in Wake of Global 'Ransomware' Attack

A cyber attack on factories, hospitals, shops and schools around the world put renewed attention on software security and the sector-related exchange traded funds that track the rising industry.

On Monday, the PureFunds ISE Cyber Security ETF (NYSEArca: HACK) surged 3.1% and the First Trust NASDAQ CEA Cybersecurity ETF (NasdaqGM: CIBR) jumped 2.8% on expectations that these cyber security companies would benefit from a pickup in cyber security spending as global firms and governments beef up their software defenses.

The cyber attack spread across the globe on Friday and by Monday had locked up computers in over 150 countries, with the European Union police agency Europol counting 200,000 machines infected, reports Helen Reid for Reuters.

“These attacks help focus the minds of chief technology officers across corporations to make sure security protocols are up to date, and you often see bookings growth at cyber security companies as a result,” Neil Campling, head of technology research at Northern Trust, told Reuters.

The attack would “refocus IT attention on updating security infrastructure and procedures” and benefit providers in email, network, and endpoint security, analysts at Wedbush wrote in a research report.