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The so-called "Nitro" digital data blitz on 48 chemical companies in the United States and the United Kingdom is the latest expansion of a cybersecurity pandemic that's stripping companies of billions in profits, while leaving consumers vulnerable to identity theft and worse.
According to computer security firm Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC), the "Nitro" attack was launched from China and spanned from late July to mid-September.
It consisted of e-mails with malicious attachments sent to between 100 and 500 employees. When a recipient opened the attachment, it installed a "remote access Trojan" called "Poison Ivy" which enabled the attacker to gain control of the machine over the Internet.
At that point, the attacker was able to steal sensitive documents, formulas and information on manufacturing processes.
And this isn't the first time this has happened.
As recently as August, Intel Corp.'s (Nasdaq: INTC) MacAfee unit identified a five-year global campaign that targeted the networks of 72 organizations, including governments, companies and even the United Nations.
Businesses worldwide lose a staggering $221 billion a year due to data theft.
Companies already have begun to protect themselves. Technology-forecaster ABI Research says global spending on network and data-security technology will rise from about $6 billion last year to more than $10 billion by 2016.
That means cybersecurity will be a major investment trend in the years to come.
For instance, Money Morning on Sept. 26 reported on five promising companies, including Symantec. All five are up since then, with the lowest gainer, Sourcefire (Nasdaq: FIRE) up 4.45% and the highest, Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: CHKP) up an impressive 11.8%.
That's not bad. But the best pick, which was held exclusively for subscribers of Private Briefing, is up 14.59% over the same period.
For only $5 a month, Private Briefing subscribers get a steady stream of such premium picks. For more information on how to sign up for Private Briefing, click here.
Once you sign up, just pull up the Sept. 27 research report titled "Making Crime Pay … For You." That report will tell you all you need to know about this intriguing profit play.
News and Related Story Links:
- Money Morning:
Five Ways to Profit from Cybersecurity Stocks.
New cyber attack targets chemical firms