Cyber Attack Raises Stakes for Tech
The software behemoth, which exited its recent third quarter with more than $25 billion in cash and investments, is certainly in a position to swallow a margin hit from its free software. Microsoft Security Essentials also offers a launch pad to sell additional software.
The media's obsession with cyber threats is keeping the issue of computer security firmly in the public eye, and that can only help Microsoft.
There is also the political will to tackle the online threats, potentially opening up a cash cow for tech companies. President Obama, for example, has promised to make cyber security a key priority for his government.
As for the recent events in Washington, fingers have already been pointed at North Korea as the source of the attack, which could explain why the U.S. and South Korea were targets. The image of Kim Jong-Il cackling deviously while hunched over a PC in Pyongyang, however, may ultimately prove wide of the mark."It's very hard to determine who is behind this because the hackers took over computers around the world," said Cluley. "It's just as easy for a kid in their bedroom to do this, as it is for an army." In a world where an acne-ridden nerd can pose as big a cyber threat as The Great Leader, the need for digital security has never been higher. The question is whether consumers will still be willing to pay top dollar for anti-virus software when it becomes available for free. For companies like Symantec, McAfee, and Microsoft, the future is full of both massive risks and rewards.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV