The global ransomware attack is highly effective advertising for cybersecurity stocks

Shields make money, too.
Shields make money, too.
Image: Reuters/Edgard Garrido
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The hackers who unleashed a global ransomware attack on Friday (May 12) have netted themselves over $42,000 in payments from victims so far—a paltry sum compared with the hundreds of millions in market value that cybersecurity companies around the world have gained since the attacks hit.

In early US trading, Symantec jumped by around 4%, worth some $700 million in market cap. Companies like Fortinet, FireEye, and Qualys also jumped as the US market opened. London-listed Sophos gained a chunky 8% in trading today, adding $160 million in market value. Finland-based F-Secure and Tokyo-listed Trend Micro also added a few percent to their share prices, worth several million dollars for each company.

It’s been a good year for cybersecurity stocks in general, with electoral hacks and high-profile leaks dominating the headlines. Cyber Cassandras have comfortably outperformed the Nasdaq composite index. A cybersecurity exchange-traded fund with the ticker HACK (naturally), was up by more than 3% in New York at the time of writing.