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Global ransomware attack sends cybersecurity stock prices soaring

Will we see further reflection in the stock market if the ransomware attacks continue?

By Tom Ball

The global ransomware attack last week that grabbed worldwide media coverage has sparked a reaction in the stock prices of cybersecuity firms upon the European open this morning.

A 0.9 percent rise in stock prices was seen for a cybersecurity exchange-traded fund that is listed in London. The fund ISE (ISPY.L) has holdings including Symantec, Cisco, and FireEye.

Europol found that 150 countries were affected by the WannaCry ransomware on Friday, with 200,000 targets being hit including major Spanish telecommunications company Telefonica, and the NHS in the UK.

This rise in cybersecurity stock prices is indicative of the impact this attack has had on the world. The increased interest in security vendors suggests a long lasting fear factor.

The calibre of the attack and its massive media coverage could be an important factor in raising awareness.

ransomwareTelefonica had to resort to shutting down its systems to prevent the formidable ransomware penetrating or spreading any further, as Spain was one of the European countries to be hit the hardest.

The NHS in the UK was hit hard across England and Scotland, also requiring a widespread shutdown. Repercussions of attacks such as this on healthcare facilities can literally be life-threatening, as such a large amount of connected devices are used for handling various processes.

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Healthcare has so far proven to be particularly vulnerable to cyber attacks, and this is perhaps due to the same reason, a widespread use of devices that the service is reliant on for carrying out every day and essential procedures.

READ MORE: As the world braces for more ransomware cyber attacks, here’s how businesses can fight back

Having identified the specific ransomware, it appears that this attack is the second version of the WannaCry attack. A kill switch has been put in place to handle the attack.

More attacks are feared and anticipated for this week, as the hackers will have had time to make the necessary alterations to bypass this defensive capability.

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