Spooky Season Highlights Need to Up Cybersecurity Spending

Cybersecurity Awareness Month is drawing to a close, and Halloween is just a few days a way. While those events usually aren’t related, this year they are.

That intersection, unusual as it may be, underscores the validity of cybersecurity investments, including the First Trust Nasdaq Cybersecurity ETF (CIBR). CIBR, which tracks the Nasdaq CTA Cybersecurity Index, is up 4.64% over the past month, indicating that it might be getting a bump from Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

More importantly, CIBR bullishness — it closed near all-time highs on Oct. 22 — is a reminder that companies of all stripes must be diligent when it comes to cyber defenses. This even includes candy makers, because some cybercriminals tried to make Halloween a little less sweet.

“Just in time for Halloween, a ransomware gang has targeted Ferrara Candy—the massive confectionary responsible for producing Brach’s well-known candy corn,” reports Lucas Ropek for Gizmodo.

Alright, so a cyberattack on a candy plant may not resonate with investors the way the Colonial Pipeline hack did, but the premise is the same. Hackers don’t discriminate based on industry. Rather, they target companies (and governments) that they perceive as vulnerable. Moreover, the cyberattack on Ferrara isn’t unusual. Actually, it’s alarmingly common.

“That’s pretty par for the course as far as this year goes—a year wherein pretty much everybody is getting hacked all the time and no institution is so sacred that it can’t be defiled by an asshole behind a keyboard. Over the past ten-ish months, ransomware gangs have repeatedly targeted large, high-profile companies in the energy sector, the food and beverage industry, tourism, software, insurance, and pretty much every other field of business you can think of,” according to Gizmodo.

Obviously, there are investment implications as companies and governments spend more to bulk up on cyber defenses. That also means that investors need to be selective in this space.

“With over 2,000 ETFs available to investors in the U.S. today, there are many ways to ‘play’ the cybersecurity space through thematic funds such as the First Trust NASDAQ Cybersecurity ETF CIBR. CIBR is one of the highest-scoring cybersecurity funds in the NDW Database and seeks to track the performance of companies engaged in the building, implementation, and management of security protocols used to protect the integrity of data and network operations, and currently holds 36 stocks,” according to Nasdaq Global Indexes.

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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.

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