Developed and even developing nations have a pretty good laugh at North Korea’s expense.
The country has been under economic sanctions from the West since the 1950s. Not even China has much sympathy for the odd society that used to be its strategic and philosophical neighbor.
Recently, Dennis Rodman did a meet and greet with North Korea’s newest leader, Kim Jong Un, who follows the dynastic line of leaders that have run the country since the end of the Korean War. The encounter was a source of bemusement for most leaders and people who are outside looking in.
But while we laugh, this tiny, isolated nation has amassed a nuclear arsenal, has developed a mid-range inter-continental ballistic missile and has cut off communications with South Korea along the tensest demilitarized zone in the world, threatening war. Oh, yeah, and North Korea has a 1.2-million man army.
In retaliation, the United States has stopped smirking and is flying practice bomber raids over South Korea.
Not so funny.
What’s more, Kim and company are likely the generators of a cyberattack against South Korean banks and media a few weeks ago. And from most accounts, it was pretty sophisticated — a bit more than you would come to expect from North Korea.
The point is this little David is playing a different game than Goliath.
And that can be said not only of nations but also organizations. Hacker groups like Anonymous have been making their points in the cyberworld on a regular basis.
What’s more, as we all come to exist online more and more (paying our bills, chatting with grandkids, emailing colleagues and family), we become more and more exposed to cyberattack.
But most of us as well as corporations, military and government remain Goliaths scoffing at these Davids.
The Next Iteration
Even if you or the institution or nation you’re involved with isn’t the target of an attack, you can still end up collateral damage in a cyberwar.
For example, two big spam email organizations went head to head last week in what’s now considered in many tech circles the biggest cyberattack in the history of the internet.
The fact is, cybersecurity and information security (infosec) are crucial; and too few in government, corporate leadership or even suburbia take it seriously.
The U.S. military is just getting around to taking the issue seriously. The President mentioned it in his State of the Union speech. And corporations are starting to realize that compromised data is very expensive to clean up — much more expensive than protecting it in the first place.
Part of the problem has been that the urgency of stepping up infosec has come at a time when most organizations and individuals have been belt-tightening, not looking to spend large sums on a generally abstract threat. It’s a hard sell, but incursions are occurring exponentially more often and they’re more sophisticated.
Cybersecurity Stocks Come In All Forms
Cybersecurity, like all things digital, is scalable. That means there are various opportunities for companies to exploit a strategic niche without having to be bigger or better than they need to be. These four all have good positions in their respective markets.
NQ Mobile Inc. (NQ) is a mobile security company that has integrated mobile games and advertising into its arsenal. Consumer Mobile Security revenues increased 69.4 percent year-over-year, and 7 percent sequentially to $19.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. Enterprise Mobility revenues increased 49.1 percent sequentially to $6.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2012 due to the strong growth in the enterprise business and new customer gains.
Next up is the individual and small business space. One of the growing names in this space is AVG Technologies (AVG). AVG has grown its user base to 146 million active users. It offers a product portfolio that targets consumers and small businesses and includes Internet security, PC performance optimization, online backup, mobile security, identity protection and family safety software.
Next, if you’re looking for cybersecurity stocks in growth sectors, then you have to check out Trend Micro Inc. (TMICY), a Japan-based company that is engaged in the development, production and sale of anti-virus software and management solutions for corporate computer systems. TMICY also develops, markets and supports Internet content security software and services. It offers solutions to prevent the invasion of viruses and other malicious content into corporate networks, small and medium-sized business networks, and individual personal computers.
Moving up to the enterprise level and beyond it’s a good idea to stick with big names. And there’s no bigger name than Symantec Corp. (SYMC). It’s a global provider of security, storage and systems management solutions that help businesses and consumers secure and manage their information.
Symantec operates primarily in three geographic regions: the Americas, which consist of the United States, Canada and Latin America; Europe, the Mideast and Africa (EMEA), and Asia Pacific Japan (APJ).
And this global reach means it also maintains important relationships with a number of multinational original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), Internet service providers, and retail and online stores.
— GS Early