The First Trust Nasdaq Cybersecurity ETF (CIBR) slumped more than 5% last week as growth and technology stocks were punished amid fears of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
That decline could eventually prove to be a buying opportunity because the case for cybersecurity investing isn’t shrinking. It’s growing, thanks to a seemingly never ending spate of cybercrimes. As Cybersecurity Ventures points out, the number of ransomware attacks could swell to one every 11 seconds in 2031.
That’s a concerning, staggering statistic that underscores long-term opportunity with cybersecurity investments, including CIBR. In fact, the new era of remote work and learning proves why cybersecurity is so vital going forward.
“One of the most high-profile attacks was on a Florida public school system in April 2021. They were held hostage for a $40 million ransom along with 26,000 stolen files as part of ‘double extortion’ tactics,” writes Morningstar analyst Sachin Nagarajan. “The school system counteroffered with $500,000, but that wasn’t enough–so the attackers published the thousands of stolen files. Cash explains that public organizations like school systems ‘are becoming popular prey because of their antiquated security measures and tight staffing budgets.’”
The $5.52 billion CIBR is the largest fund in this category and tracks the Nasdaq CTA Cybersecurity Index. To be included in that benchmark, a company must be a cybersecurity outfit as defined by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).
The First Trust fund holds 36 stocks with a median market value of $10.61 billion. Some of those components are viewed favorably by analysts. That includes Okta (NASDAQ:OKTA), which is CIBR’s fourth-largest holding at a weight of nearly 5%.
“Okta addresses two primary markets through its workforce identity and customer identity products. Workforce identity affords protection and allows access for a customer’s employees, contractors, and partners, while customer identity is for enabling a customer’s customers,” according to Morningstar. “Okta melded these two distinct markets within its identity cloud, and has a robust integration network that simplifies identity access and security protocols for the applications its customers rely on.”
Among other cybersecurity names, analysts also favor Palo Alto Networks (NASDAQ:PANW). That’s CIBR’s largest holding at an allocation of 6.81%.
“We expect that Palo Alto will continue to outpace its security peers by focusing on providing solutions in areas like cloud security and automation. Palo Alto’s concerted efforts into machine learning, analytics, and automated responses could make its products indispensable within customer networks,” notes Morningstar.
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The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.