The Best Cybersecurity Stock to Buy for 2018 Could Double Your Money

best cybersecurity stock to buyThe best cybersecurity stock to buy now could bring investors triple-digit gains in the next 12 months as the industry experiences unstoppable growth.

Global spending on cybersecurity is expected to exceed $1 trillion over the next five years, according to Cybersecurity Ventures. That's up from $3.5 billion in 2013, an increase of 7,043% on an annual basis.

And our best cybersecurity stock to buy before 2018 is homing in on an overlooked market within this industry...

While other cybersecurity firms focus on cloud and business cybersecurity solutions, our recommendation is focused on the consumer market.

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You see, Americans have grown increasingly worried about being victims of cybercrime. According to an October 2014 Gallup poll, Americans were over three times as likely to be worried about hackers stealing their credit card information than they were about being the victim of a hate crime or road rage.

In 2016, 49% of Americans believed their data was less secure than it was in 2011, according to Pew Research.

In 2017, those concerns were confirmed by multiple major security breaches, including:

  • WannaCry Ransomware Attack: On May 12, hackers encrypted files on over 230,000 computers in 150 countries. The hackers demanded ransom payments to have those files restored.
  • 2016 Russian Election Meddling: On June 21, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced Russian hackers had interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
  • Equifax Breach: The most alarming cybersecurity event of 2017 was undoubtedly the Equifax breach, announced on Sept. 7. Between May and August, hackers accessed the credit card information, including Social Security numbers, of more than 143 million Americans.

As more industries become part of the "Internet-of-Things," Cybersecurity Ventures estimates cybercrime will cause $6 trillion in damages annually by 2021. Companies able to protect their customers from those damages will rake in profits.

Here's why our best cybersecurity stock to buy before 2018 is perfectly positioned to secure a piece of the $1 trillion pie...

The Equifax Breach Boosted Consumer Spending

The Equifax breach was one of the most invasive attacks on privacy in recent years. Americans really felt how vulnerable they were to cybercrime, and they reacted.

In the week following the Sept. 7 announcement of the Equifax Breach, a leading identity protection service owned by our best cybersecurity stock for 2018 saw six times its usual web traffic. The service enrolled 10 times as many new customers per hour than before the attack.

Over 100,000 new members paid for a cybersecurity service from our top cybersecurity stock in the first week following the announcement of the attack. According to one of the company's executives, most of these new members were paying full price and showing preference toward the premium plan.

I conservatively estimate that each new member signed up to pay, on average, $20 per month. Multiply that by 100,000 new members, and you have $2 million dollars in monthly subscription fees. And that's only from the pool of new members who signed up in just the first week after the breach was announced.

Let that sink in for a second...

That's $24 million of annual revenue generated in one week...

As a direct result of one cybercrime event...

And the evidence shows that these attacks will only become more frequent...

Yet, the company's stock still languishes at pre-breach levels. It defies common sense.

But that makes this the perfect time to buy shares.

When the company reports its Q4 2017 earnings results in the first week of February, I expect a positive surprise that will send the company's share price soaring as the rest of the crowd catches on. For context, the company has beaten earnings estimates in eight of the last nine quarters.

As more of our lives exist in massive data centers, the frequency of these cyberattacks on individuals will only increase. In fact, over 1.9 billion records were breached in just the first half of 2017, compared to 575 million in all of 2013 - an increase of more than 230%. That doesn't even include the Equifax breach.

Consumers will be left with two options: swear off technology or pay to protect their identities.

And as you can see, they've already made their decision.

So, without further delay, here's the top cybersecurity stock for 2018...

The Best Cybersecurity Stock to Buy Before 2018

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The cybersecurity service that added over 100,000 new members in one week is called Lifelock Inc. And as of Feb. 9, Lifelock is owned by Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC).

The company's stock currently trades at $28.25 after peaking at $34 following the Equifax breach announcement.

At this price, it's one of the cheapest stocks in its cybersecurity software peer group according to S&P Capital IQ. Symantec currently has a forward price-earnings (P/E) ratio of 15.13 versus its peer group's average forward P/E ratio of 28.85. That represents a 47.56% discount to the peer group.

Compared to its closest competitors Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT), with a forward P/E of 41.25, and Fortinet Inc. (Nasdaq: FTNT), with a forward P/E of 35.72, Symantec trades at a 62% and 56% discount, respectively.

Given that valuation, it's not unreasonable to expect Symantec's share price to double in 2018.

Based on consensus expected annual earnings of $1.68 for 2018 and the peer group average forward P/E of 28.85, Symantec's shares would be worth $48.47 next year, which represents a 71.58% upside.

Using Fortinet's forward P/E of 35.72, Symantec's shares would be worth $60, representing a 112.39% upside.

Currently trading at $28.25, investors who want to invest in SYMC shouldn't wait. Today is actually the company's ex-dividend date, and its share price will be discounted by $0.15 - the amount of the quarterly dividend.

But this will probably be the last chance to buy Symantec's shares at these levels. The stock is likely to take off by the second half of January, if not sooner, because the company reports its third-quarter earnings results in the first week of February.

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